Driving on UAE roads is no easy task. In a place that is home to people belonging to more than 200 nationalities, there are about as many driving styles about 525 people were killed in vehicular accidents on UAE roads in 2017. This number in fact marks significant progress as the number of fatalities have reduced by half when compared to the figures 10 years ago. With motorists drawn from diverse backgrounds, the priority is to create a positive driving culture that will result in fewer accidents, injuries and fatalities on our roads.
Many studies that have been conducted in the UAE prove that motorists in the UAE drive in a manner that is highly dangerous and shows lack of consideration for others on the road. Behavior studies revealed that there is plenty of scope for improvement when it comes to enhancing the safety of motorists, their passengers, pedestrians and other road users.
Thomas Edelmann, Managing Director of RoadSafetyUAE said that his organization focused on formulating guidelines related to key elements of a positive driving culture that could make the roads in the UAE safer. He said that they tried to identify the ingredients of such a driving culture.
He added, “We listened to many stakeholders involved in increasing road safety in our country, like Governmental Entities, the media, corporations and road users over the last couple of years. Over and over again the lack of a positive road culture was lamented. Based on available statistics about the main killers on our roads and on globally recognized pillars of road safety, we formalized our view of the ’10 Golden Rules’ for the desired positive UAE driving culture. We were not shy in using the words Golden Rules, as road traffic fatalities are an area of national priority (‘UAE Vision 2021’), and are recognized as the #2 killer in the UAE overall, and the #1 killer for kids below the age of 15 years. We need to change our driving culture with a sense of significant importance and urgency!”
Here the 10 golden rules they came up with to increase road safety in the UAE:
1. Caring & Polite Behavior: Treat others like you want to be treated!
2. Wear Seat Belts: Everyone & Always!
3. Drive Defensively: Avoid taking risks!
4. No Distractions!
5. No Tailgating: Always keep the minimum distance to the vehicle in front, irrespective of the weather!
6. No Speeding: Manage your time effectively and start every trip 10 minutes early!
7. Use the indicator: Timely and before every maneuver!
8. No Driving Under the Influence!
9. Care for Pedestrians and Weaker Road Users!
10. Teach Our Kids: Parents, Nurseries, Schools and Universities must protect our kids of today & nurture the next generation of caring and safe traffic participants!
All the 9 rules are a given if the first rule, “caring and polite behavior” is followed. In fact, this rule can serve as the foundation of a positive UAE driving culture.
The importance of wearing seatbelts cannot be overemphasized. 60 per cent of the fatalities in Abu Dhabi in the period from January to September 2017 were due to the non-use of seat belts. In many instances, parents fail to use seatbelts or the appropriate car seats for their children
‘Driving Under the Influence!’ also refers to banned substances including prescription medicine. In fact, Dubai Police on their official website states that prescription medicines are the top cause of accidents in Dubai!
The same source also said that lack of “Care for Pedestrians and Weaker Road Users!’ is another top cause of road fatalities.
It is important to teach kids about the need for road safety, so that from a very young age, they are aware about safe driving practices and concern for others on the road. Government authorities need to work closely with educators and parents on educating children about the different aspects of road safety. It should be a mandatory part of the curriculum content for all grades/years starting with Kindergarten all the way up to Universities.
When the kids of today get behind the wheel in a few years, they should already have the correct safety habits with them!
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