x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Common sense lost in the fog

That was the headline this week in The National, as thick mist fell over the country in the early mornings and created traffic chaos in certain areas.

'Two dead and 15 hurt as fog causes six crashes"

That was the headline this week in The National, as thick mist fell over the country in the early mornings and created traffic chaos in certain areas. Minor and more major crashes occurred all over the UAE, with the largest resulting in an 18-vehicle pileup on the E11 towards Tarif that left two dead and 11 injured. Terrible stuff.

But the headline is misleading; fog is not in control of a car, people are. Fog doesn't turn a steering wheel or press an accelerator, and it certainly doesn't degrade the quality of the road you're driving on. And as long as we fail to acknowledge this, more and more people will die on our roads in these adverse conditions.

When fog rolls in, or rain comes down, or any other inclement weather affects the roads and traffic, it's up to every driver to adjust driving habits to suit. The key here is to slow down; if fog impedes your visibility, then travel at a speed that you can stop in time to the limit of your sight. Turn on your headlights so other cars can see you, and please, please, don't turn on your hazard lights; those are for when your car is stopped. Besides, we can all see the fog, we don't need you to remind us of the dangerous driving conditions.

And as far as banning trucks during fog conditions is concerned, as suggested by the police, let's instead mandate brighter tail lights for lorries and make sure they are in proper working order. How many times have you been surprised to come up quickly on a lorry at night because its lights are the brightness of a candle, even in clear conditions?

These are just basic driving habits; so why is it that so many people are caught out and don't react in bad weather? It's time to take responsibility for your own driving and stop blaming the weather.

***

By the time you read this on Saturday morning, the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai will be in its last leg, headed towards a chequered flag at 2pm this afternoon. If you have never been to one of these races, and you're at all interested in cars and motorsport, you'd be mad not to check out the final few hours. Not only are there some really good drivers and really hot cars, spectators are actually allowed to wander around the paddocks, which gives a unique, behind-the-scenes look at endurance racing. You don't get anywhere near that with Formula One, and it's worth taking advantage of.

Plus, you get to see the winners ferried to the podium on camels. You don't get that in Formula One, either.