Ramadan 2021: Dubai drivers should get off the wheel when feeling sleepy or exhausted

Dubai traffic
Motorists need to be extra careful while driving close to iftar times, authorities say. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Drivers who feel sleepy or exhausted should avoid driving, especially during Ramadan, when attentiveness of some motorists drops due to change in eating and sleeping habits, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) reminded on Tuesday.

“The variation of sleeping and duty timings during Ramadan tends to impact the attention of fasting motorists — this is visible at the time of driving from the workplace to home where the driver’s concentration drops to a minimum; which impacts the ability of the driver to take the proper decision at the right time. Therefore, extra caution and attention is required when driving from the workplace back to home to avoid accidents,” warned Eng. Maitha bin Adai, CEO of Traffic and Roads Agency at RTA.

She noted: “Most traffic accidents that take place in Ramadan are attributed to the lack of leaving a safe distance between vehicles. Drivers are therefore encouraged to leave enough distance between vehicles. They are advised to switch on air-conditioners while driving as the hot conditions give rise to the feeling of exhaustion. The driver has to maintain an upright position while seated and keep the head raised while driving.

Drive safe this Ramadan

The RTA will send awareness messages via social media channels, sites and messaging signs to raise the public awareness about safe driving during Ramadan.

Maitha bin Adai

“The Traffic and Roads Agency is acting in accordance with the Dubai Traffic Safety Strategy in collaboration with partners to educate drivers about the risks of driving while under fatigue and exhaustion. The noble values of the holy month need to be reflected on the attitudes of individuals, such as the compliance with the traffic rules and avoiding offensive driving at the expense of other road users,” noted Bin Adai.

She added: “Drivers are recommended to take enough rest before sitting behind the wheel and cease driving once feeling very tired, drowsy or yawning. Relaxing and resting for a short period may help the driver to complete the journey safely. Once drivers hear the call for Maghreb prayer while driving, they must stop to take a light Iftar, even if a glass of water and few dates, before resuming the journey.”

RTA safety tips for drivers:

* Avoid driving after taking a heavy meal, especially after fasting

* Be patient when driving during Ramadan, and leave a safe distance from the vehicle to the front

* Expect congestion and make more time to reach your destination to avoid tension while driving.

* Avoid engaging in intense disputes with some motorists flouting traffic rules and keep in lane.

* Don’t sleep inside a vehicle while keeping all windows closed and the A/C switched on in closed areas at this can cause suffocation and death within less than an hour

* If you are a kind of person who is remarkably tense while fasting, better leave your vehicle and use public transport to reach safely to your destination.

Be considerate

Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, told Gulf News that non-fasting drivers, pedestrians, passengers and other road users “should be considerate and generous to those who fast.”

Thomas Edelmann

“All traffic participants — fasting and non-fasting — must be extra careful during Ramadan. Especially, ‘weaker traffic participants’ (pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists) must watch out for potentially irrational behaviour of others Apply the same defensive driving approach like fasting traffic participants. Be very careful in the morning rush hours and try to stay off the roads just before Iftar,” he added.

Truck timings

At the start of Ramadan, RTA has restricted movement of trucks on E11 Road in the sector from Sharjah border to the 7th interchange of the Sheikh Zayed Road (via Ittihad Road, Sheikh Rashid Road and Sheikh Zayed Road). Trucks were also prohibited in the downtown areas of Deira and Bur Dubai from 7am to 11pmpm instead of 6am to 10pm.