ABU DHABI // You have to worry about the "other guy" too. That is the message traffic police will begin spreading on Sunday, when their Beware of the Mistakes of Others campaign starts in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia. The effort marks the start of Gulf Traffic Week, which will run simultaneously in all GCC countries.
"This year's theme highlights one of the important factors that leads to traffic accidents and the resulting deaths and injuries," said Col Hussein al Harthi, director of the Abu Dhabi Traffic and Patrol Department. He said the planned campign would target all levels of society. "We will have documentaries, illustrations and posters, radio shows, cartoon characters featured on brochures and publications, advertisement slots and an exhibition set up in Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Park to raise awareness on the subject," he said.
Common missteps made by other motorists, which only get more dangerous if they go unobserved, include sudden changes in direction, reckless driving, not signalling when changing lanes, driving in the opposite direction down one-way streets, using mobile phones while driving, stopping suddenly without indicating, exhibiting a lack of respect towards others on the road and tailgating. Pedestrians can also be guilty of a lack of consideration, and cause accidents when they cross the road in undesignated areas.
Mistakes, Col al Harthi added, can occur at the hands of both drivers and pedestrians, and the resulting accidents are often caused by a lack of attention and focus. "Everyone needs to start paying more attention," he said. The Dubai Health Authority reported that in 2008, one in 12 people in the emirate were involved in a road accident. And in 2009, 963 people died on the UAE's roads, according to the Ministry of Interior.