DUBAI // Safety experts yesterday urged drivers to slow down and pay more attention to the roads.
The plea came after it was revealed that a fourth person was killed on the UAE’s roads on Monday.
Three others were injured in the crash involving three cars, all driven by Emiratis, on Dubai Bypass Road.
The driver of a saloon car died and his passenger was seriously injured, as was a 4x4 driver. The driver of the third car suffered minor injuries.
There were 630 crashes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai on Monday, coinciding with one of the wettest days of the year.
“Rain is not a common weather condition in the UAE and many are not careful on the roads,” said Dr Abdulilah Zineddin, who has a doctorate in civil engineering, specialising in traffic engineering and safety. “In the US, where I lived, we slowed down and when we approached a curve, we moved carefully because the roads were slippery. Imagine if the UAE had hail or ice? It would be a disaster here.”
Dr Zineddin said motorists should always adjust their speed based on weather conditions and suggested more police patrols to discourage reckless driving.
“When it’s raining heavily, a driver should not be driving at 120kph to 140kph on the motorway,” he said.
“He or she should be aware that when weather conditions are different, such as rain and fog, they should drive more carefully and be more vigilant.”
Dr Zineddin said the authorities should ensure there is adequate maintenance and drainage on motorways.
Insurers are now counting the cost of damage claims from Monday.
One said the full cost of damage to cars and property in traffic accidents caused by the wet weather could take days to assess.
“We expect to see claims going up because people aren’t used to driving in the rain in this country,” said Jeremy Baggott, general manager for Zurich’s general insurance business in the UAE. “This is factored into the annual car insurance premiums people pay here.”
Although the number of accidents was high, most insurers were treating Monday as a one-off event and unlikely to increase premiums.
“Certainly from a Zurich point of view you will not see premiums increase,” he said. “It’s difficult to put a figure on how much it will cost in total because we expect to be getting claims in over the next few days.
“It will be higher compared with a normal day but it’s something that we prepare for and can cope with.”
Mr Baggott urged drivers to be diligent when buying policies.
“A recent Gallup poll showed that 70 per cent of expatriates in the UAE were unaware of what their policy covered or even how to go about making a claim.”
He advised people to always buy fully comprehensive cover so they had access to services such as roadside assistance and a courtesy car.
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