Driving expert Ian Cox explains how to stay safe on UAE roads when visibility is low
How to drive safely in the UAE fog
At this time of year in the UAE, road journeys early in the morning and late at night are often likely to be disrupted by fog, especially outside urban areas (meaning it's most commonly noted on the drive between Dubai and Abu Dhabi). This requires adjustments to your driving style.
Ian Cox, who is an advanced driving instructor for Audi Driving Experience and a senior drive trainer for Dubai-based automotive company Drive Dynamics, offers his top tips for staying safe on the roads when visibility is low.
Hazard lights are a no
“With hazard lights on, anybody behind has no clue what you’re doing – they don’t know if you’re turning left, turning right or slowing down.
Driving with hazard lights on in foggy weather is now punishable by a fine of Dh500 and four black points.
What about fog lights?
“Fog lights: if you’ve got them, use them, but remember that if you can clearly see the car behind you, they can already see you as well, so then you don’t actually need to turn on your fog lights. You only need them if you can’t see anything behind you, to give people an extra warning. A lot of people also don’t realise where the button is. So it’s always worth knowing where [the controls for] your fog lights are and how they operate – and make sure all your lights work.
Speed and lane discipline most important
“The main thing is speed and lane discipline. Only drive to the speed that you can see in front. Wherever you lose visibility, imagine that you have to stop in that time, because you could come across a group of cars that are stopped – even if you’re down to 20kph or 30kph.
“If you really get to the point where you cannot see, stop. But if you stop, find somewhere where you’re protected – off the carriageway, behind a barrier if you can, so at least you’ve got some protection. And if it’s really foggy, only make a journey if you really have to.”
Meanwhile, Thomas Edelmann, managing director of Road Safety UAE, has called for fog lights to be made compulsory features of all cars in the UAE.
"From a road safety perspective, we would welcome the mandatory introduction of front and rear fog lights," he says. "But the rear fog lights must be turned off in non-foggy conditions, because they blind traffic and outshine the brake lights."