Driving home the road safety message is a challenge. Refresh your knowledge of the essentials before you head out on the road.
Just because Fast & Furious was filmed in Abu Dhabi, doesn’t mean you should drive like Vin Diesel and Co. Slow down a bit and think of this first: it is estimated that 3,400 lives around the globe are lost daily on the road.
Here in the UAE, the Roadway, Transportation and Traffic Safety Research Centre (RTTSRC) says that 10,000 crashes have occur yearly resulting in 2.7 fatalities per day. Road accidents and injuries are costing the economy a whopping AED 20 billion annually due to loss of life, property and productivity.
The first three months of 2015 have seen improvements, 147 deaths compared to the 186 recorded in the same period last year. That’s a 21 percent decline according to the Ministry of Interior.
Government campaigns have been working overtime in an effort to reduce these numbers, installing cameras and electronic message boards designed to share road conditions and more. The aim is zero fatalities on the road by 2030.
To help them in their work Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, shares these valuable tips:
The wheel deal
The last thing you want is a blow out so to make sure your tyres are in tip-top shape follow these RoadSafetyUAE guidelines:
- Use new, branded and certified tyres only.
- Buying secondhand tyres is illegal in the UAE. Tyre quality in the country is regulated by the GCC Standardisation Organisation.
- Use the correct tyre type and dimension for your vehicle. Check the vehicle owner’s manual for reference.
- Check the pressure of your tyres at least once a month using a reliable or calibrated gauge. The suggested pressures are indicated in the manual, on a sticker usually attached to a door frame, fuel cover or on the tyre itself.
- Don’t drive at pressures lower than those recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Follow the load and speed capabilities of the tyres – don’t exceed!
- Replace tyres when you see cracks or cuts on the sidewall.
- Avoid driving over or near potential danger objects such as rocks, glass, potholes or kerbs.
- Don’t forget your spare tyre. Regularly check the condition and air pressure of spare tyres.
Driving is a two-way street. So make sure it’s not you in the fast lane to bad ‘driver-dom’ by brushing up on some road etiquette.
- Follow traffic lights. There’s a reason they are there – to ensure the smooth flow of vehicles
from all sides of the road.
- Don’t speed. Adjust your speed according to road conditions and follow speed limits.
- Stay in your lane. Don’t drift from side to side.
- Look before you change lanes and maintain reasonable speed to avoid potential accidents.
- Signal. Changing directions without informing other road users shows a lack of courtesy to fellow drivers. Use lights and signals appropriately, especially during low visibility conditions.
- Don’t tailgate. Driving bumper-to-bumper dramatically increases risk of collision. The
advisable gap between cars is at least three seconds at highway speed.
- Hands on the wheel. Refrain from engaging in other activities while driving. Pull over to a safe area if you really need to use your phone.
- Keep your cool. Stay calm and keep your composure to avoid tension from escalating.
- Be alert. Look around for approaching vehicles, animals, debris and pedestrians.
- Check mirrors. Keep track of other cars around you. Think of how and where to manoeuvre in case of sudden problems.
- Anticipate the worst. Don’t assume that other drivers will give way or are disciplined enough to follow road rules.
Wearing seatbelts can reduce fatalities in vehicle accidents by up to 60 percent. Drivers should remind passengers to buckle up before heading off.
Did you know that 40 percent of child deaths in the world are caused by car accidents? Babyshop carries an assorted line of car seats for different ages and weight groups and has this advice for installation:
- The back seat of the car is the safest place for all children under the age of 12.
- Do not place your child seat in the front.
- If the child seat remains in the car permanently, make sure it is regularly checked and is securely held.
- Check for any forward or sideways sway, once the child is secured in the seat.
- Push your weight into the child car seat and pull the shoulder belt to make sure the child seat is securely held. There should be no slack in the seat belt.
- Check that the seatbelt buckle is not resting on the child seat frame (this is known as ‘buckle crunch’).
- Make sure the seatbelt passes through all the correct guides on the child seat.
- A maintenance check can go a long way in saving lives. And make sure to seek help from “professional mechanics and trusted garages,” says RoadSafetyUAE’s Thomas.
- Lights must be checked to be sure they’re working properly and must be replaced if broken.
- Brakes must be thoroughly examined.
- Air-conditioning and air filters must be cleaned regularly, especially during summer.
- Engine oil, oil filters, hydraulic fluids, radiator coolant fluid, battery fluid and belts must be checked every four to six months or at mileage stated by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
- Yes, it does rain in Abu Dhabi and it can come unexpectedly, so check your wipers too.
Check your speed
A recent study by RoadSafetyUAE and Zurich reveals new data on speeding in the country:
- Top three reasons why drivers speed: running late (67%), for fun or to impress others (53%), out of habit (45%).
- 5% of motorists have driven faster than 180 km/h.
- 29% of young drivers regularly speed, with 38% exceeding 150 kmh.
- 86% of motorists believe current speed limits are about right.
Need to know
- Abu Dhabi Police: es.adpolice.gov.ae
- National Ambulance Company: nationalambulance.ae
- RoadSafetyUAE: roadsafetyuae.com
- Road service patrol: 999 (toll free number)
- Download the app DARB (darb.ae) and be updated on road works, maps and driving directions