Dubai flights delayed due to heavy fog
DUBAI, SHARJAH // Thick fog caused 119 accidents on Dubai’s roads between 4am and 9am on Wednesday. Police had received more than 1,980 calls for assistance by noon.
The weather conditions also caused problems at Dubai International, where Dubai Airports said heavy fog disrupted operations, resulting in several delays and 13 diversions.
The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology issued warnings that visibility was reduced to less than 50 metres on major motorways. Forecasters said there was a chance of fog over the next 48 hours.
Lt Col Mohammed Aman, acting director of Dubai Police’s Command and Control Centre, urged motorists to take extra care, follow safety directives and use fog lights in bad weather conditions.
He said drivers should make sure their cars’ windshields, windows and headlights were clean and to avoid using their hazard-warning lights unless there had been an accident or to warn other drivers of something unusual on the road.
“Leave enough distance between vehicles ahead and do not overtake the front vehicles,” Dubai Police said via its Twitter account.
Abu Dhabi Police and Dubai Police urged drivers not to use hazard lights unless they had come to a complete stop.
The reason, they said, was because any intended change of direction the driver may wish to take then cannot be signalled to other motorists.
In Sharjah, year-end figures released by police revealed that almost three people were killed on the emirate’s road each week, on average, in 2016.
Traffic accidents claimed 130 lives in the period from January 1 to December 27, down from 157 the year before. Emirates Road was named as the deadliest stretch of highway with nine deaths, followed by the Al Dhaid-Sharjah road with seven fatalities.
“Compared with last year, which registered 157 fatalities, we have seen a decrease in road deaths this year, which is a good indicator, but still we need to come up with more ways to tackle this issue,” said Lt Col Ahmad Al Naour, deputy director of Sharjah traffic police.
To help cut deaths on dangerous roads, Sharjah police lowered the speed limit on the Al Quta-Nazwa road in the central region from 120 kilometres an hour to 100kph after more than 3,000 speeding offences were recorded over a single weekend this month.
Traffic safety experts said fatalities in traffic accidents were often the result of a lack of awareness by motorists, especially young drivers.
“New drivers should have their driving licences renewed every year for the first three years, instead of 10, which gives authorities access to their records, which can show if he was a good driver or not, and act accordingly,” said Alauddin Dawood, deputy chief executive of National Traffic Safety Institute.
“Furthermore, the usual driving exams and studying materials for new motorists should be updated, and up to date. We need to give university students, and pupils from an early age constant awareness campaigns to be able to instil in them the proper ways to drive and be safe on the roads,” he said.
Accidents, he said, were caused by drivers in 94 per cent of cases. “The remaining factors are the 2 per cent caused by the vehicle, and 4 per cent by issues on the road.”