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Dr Maryam Matar has been nominated as one of the top 20 most influential women scientists in the Islamic world. A reader has praised her example as a role model in the UAE and an inspiration to others. Photo: Christopher Pike / The National
Dr Maryam Matar has been nominated as one of the top 20 most influential women scientists in the Islamic world. A reader has praised her example as a role model in the UAE and an inspiration to others. Photo: Christopher Pike / The National

Dr Maryam Matar is a role model and an inspiration in the UAE

Readers say it was drivers not matching the road conditions and not the fog that caused Thursday's 57-vehicle pile up on the Abu Dhabi to Al Ain highway. Other views: Dr Maryam Matar is a role model; Syrian truce is contrived but still a step forward; and rooftop shisha cafes are a bad option.

It’s drivers, not the fog, that caused 57-vehicle crash

Your news article, 57-vehicle pile-up brings traffic to a standstill on Al Ain-Abu Dhabi highway (January 16), reflects a black day in the history of road safety in the UAE, even though on this occasion it seems there were no fatalities.

The issue is, once again, drivers’ behaviour during adverse weather conditions. Some of our roads, and especially the Dubai-Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi-Al Ain roads, have strange weather pockets where one experiences dense fog with visibility below 50 meters.  

Some drivers ignore the danger and continue to drive fast without any caution for themselves or others. When they encounter drivers ahead who have reduced their speed, the result is a multiple collision of the kind in your article.

The UAE is lucky to have both modern weather forecasting equipment and a comprehensive road-control system. The police should join forces with meteorological experts and issue alerts about dangerous weather conditions such as fog or sandstorms more promptly than they do now. This should be backed by deploying patrol cars on these roads during these foggy mornings so that they create a sense of caution among those who speed.

The speed limit ought to be temporarily lowered by 40 per cent during times of poor visibility, with speed cameras adjusted to suit. In times of fog and sandstorms, the fines for speeding ought to be doubled and those repeat offenders ought to have their licences suspended or cars impounded.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

The fog on the day of this accident was one of the worst I have seen in three years of commuting through Al Ain and onto the eastern region.

There was almost zero visibility at times. Having seen a fatal accident my first year commuting, I am glad there were only minor injuries. Christina Ann Murphy, Abu Dhabi

This accident was caused simply because the majority of motorists do not leave enough distance between their cars and those ahead of them and drive at very high speeds, so that by the time they sense danger, it is often too late.

I hope all those who were injured in the pile-up are recovering.

Fatima Suhaiul, Sharjah

In conditions like these, drivers need to slow down and obey speed limits, keep a safe distance and switch on their fog lights.

Hazard lights should not be used unless you are in trouble, in which case they can be used to warn drivers behind you.

Leave plenty of time for journeys and avoid rushing.

If you don’t care about your own life, that’s fine but spare a thought for other drivers.

Jayadevi Machaya Palekanda, Abu Dhabi

This was caused by fog? Not quite – it’s the drivers who were going too fast and not paying attention who caused it, not the weather conditions.

How about slowing down when it’s foggy?

Name withheld by request

Emirati doctor ‘a great role model’

With regard to your article about Dr Maryam Matar being listed as among the 20 most influential women in science in the Islamic world, (Emirati makes list of 20 most influential women, January 16) I want to say that we are proud of her achievements and proud to be Emiratis.

Saeed Al Ameri, Abu Dhabi

‘Contrived’ truce is still a step forward

With regard to your article, Syria offers Aleppo truce and prisoner swap ahead of peace talks (January 18) it’s true that a limited ceasefire, prisoner swap, and assistance with humanitarian aid could have been proposed long before. Coming now, on the eve of the peace summit, it seems contrived.

But any semblance of civility is good news to the people of this war-torn country.

Let’s take the offer then at face value. After all, there is no chance it will whitewash the past atrocities.

Besides, our immediate concern is the plight of the civilians. For them, any pause in hostilities – by any means or pretext – is a welcome relief.

George Kafantaris, Dubai

Shisha ‘a nuisance’ in residential areas

In the letter to the editor published on January 15 (Cafes should hit city heights), the writer suggested shisha cafes should be allowed on rooftops of buildings. I am completely against this.

I currently live in a building where there is a cafe and restaurant that offer shisha on the rooftop. 

I can’t describe how much annoyance this is causing tenants, starting with strangers coming up and down until very late at night.

Besides this disturbance, shisha smoke can also be detected on the stairs and all the parking spots nearby are taken by cafe goers. It is really a nuisance.

Shisha cafes should not be located around residential areas.

AF, Abu Dhabi

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