x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

South Korea a highly connected nation

A reader urges young drivers to shun recklessness and exercise caution and restraint on the road. Other topics: parenting, Hard Rock Cafe, United States, Rugby, South Korea, banking

A reader hails the progress of South Korea, one of the most connected nations in the world. Jean Chung / Bloomberg News
A reader hails the progress of South Korea, one of the most connected nations in the world. Jean Chung / Bloomberg News

Young driver's attitude sends worrying signals

I have read the blog post Licensed to kill? Child Ferrari drivers headed for a road near you (March 21) with interest. I had to read it twice as I thought there was a hint of sarcasm and satire that I somehow missed. Finally, I realised that there was none.

1. The writer admits to driving before she was legally allowed to. Many teenagers do this but she has just confessed to a crime if she  was driving on a public road. I presume that the person who owned the car let her borrow it. If so, then he or she also broke the law.

2. Twenty-two is not an age when one can be classified as an experienced driver. In the western world insurance for 22-year-olds regardless of experience is proportionately high as they account for the majority of road accidents and deaths. I am not saying that she is a bad driver but most 22-year-olds I know think they are good drivers when they are not.

3. How is it possible to accumulate so many traffic violations?  The only way this is possible is to be disrespectful for the rules of the road and other people’s lives. Traffic rules are not created to make revenue. Fines are supposed to stop people from violating the rules and make the roads safer.

4. It is very disturbing when she says that she “tries” not to go over 160kph. Does that mean she doesn’t have full control of her car?

5. If she needs to drive fast to feel “liberated” and “excited”, then she can go to a race track and drive fast in a safe and controlled environment. By doing otherwise, she is putting other people’s lives at risk. If someone is killed as a result of reckless driving, it will ruin many lives, including the culprit’s. Manslaughter is punishable by prison sentences.

6. Ayesha says she is comfortable driving at high speeds. However, its not the speed that causes accidents. Accidents are caused by external factors. Would she be comfortable driving at this pace when her tyre blows out or someone pulls out in front of her without looking?

7. I agree with the comment that speed doesn’t cause accidents but as my comment above mentions, it’s outside factors that cause accidents. It’s usually the difference in speed and direction of the vehicles that causes an accident. However, there is no difference between one who drives below the minimum speed limit and one who does above the maximum limit. Both are dangerous.

8. The writer mentions that she was blamed for an accident that wasn’t her fault. It worries me that she doesn’t see this as her fault. If she ended up running into the back of someone then she was either driving too close to that vehicle in question or she was not paying attention, or both. The person who hits from behind takes the blame. This rule is followed all over the world. The UAE is not an exception. She should have been taught this at the driving school.

9. Ayesha’s nieces and nephews may think she is a great driver and of course they want her to go faster. But she must realise that they are children and don’t understand that speeding is dangerous.

I apologise if my comments seem to be a bit of a scolding, but I think the fact that all this seems perfectly normal to her is worrying.

Such an article can land someone in court in many western countries.

The UAE has some of the most dangerous roads in the world and the attitude that “it won’t happen to me as I am a good driver” is scary.

Remember, if it can happen, it will happen. One just needs to reduce the odds of it happening and the severity of the outcome.

At the moment she is in the higher-probability bracket for it happening one day.

Christopher ONeil, Dubai

Children must do their own work

In the opinion article Wealth is important, but it doesn't build a child's character (March 24), is the writer trying to say that she doesn't believe the US president has domestic help, and thinks other Americans don't?

Children of wealthy people can do basic chores such as making their own beds, setting and clearing the table, picking up and putting away their clothes and keeping their rooms in order. In fact, these tasks help to build the character of a child and make him or her realise that domestic workers are human beings.

I have seen schoolchildren from wealthy families throw rubbish on the playground and classroom floors.

They assume that someone else is supposed to clean the dirt. It is enough that cleaners empty rubbish bins, they should not have to pick up shredded paper, drink cans and spilt snacks.

Furthermore, the writer says: "I have spent tortured moments in the toy store, explaining to my children about why they cannot have this or that video game or toy." I think parents should simply try to limit their visits to the toy store. And they don't need to go to U Penn for classes.

Patricia Geiger, Abu Dhabi

We must preserve historical places

I refer to the story Demolition workers told not to rock cafe's crossed guitars (March 22). From the photograph it appears that half of the building has been demolished. Is there no respect for history?

Ramesh Menon, Dubai

US is a land of opportunities

The story From one harsh reality to another (March 23) about Iraqi referees in the US reminds us that life is hard even for American-born citizens. But the United States is still a land of opportunities. It was for my ancestors who went there from Ireland and Britain hundreds of years ago.

Teri Adams, Abu Dhabi

South Korea made major progress

South Korea's strategy has been really effective (South Korea's path to internet mastery, February 12).

It's incredible that 30 million people in the country out of a total population of about 50 million own smartphones. South Korea has made great strides.

John M, Dubai

Referee was just doing his job

In the story Spencer and Jantjes deliver many memories and smiles (March 23), your comments about the referee are disappointing.

If he saw the ball go forward, it went forward regardless of whose hand it came from.

Iwan Williams, Dubai

Banks must revise some policies

Some banking practices in the UAE are not appropriate (Saving culture struggles to take hold in UAE, March 10).

For example, when bouncing a cheque is considered a criminal offence, banks should not seek blank signed cheques as guarantees against loans.

Before giving loans to individuals, banks should also analyse their ability to pay.

If such a practice is allowed to continue for a long time, a day might come when the majority of the population will be heavily burdened with debt. That would have a major impact on the economy.

Vijaykumar, India