x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Heavy traffic but no major road issues as UAE goes back to school

Abu Dhabi police said no traffic jams or crashes were reported as thousands of students returned to school across the country on Sunday morning.

Families piled into their cars early on Sunday morning to drop off their children at school. Summer has officially ended and with the new school year comes early morning traffic. Lee Hoagland / The National
Families piled into their cars early on Sunday morning to drop off their children at school. Summer has officially ended and with the new school year comes early morning traffic. Lee Hoagland / The National

ABU DHABI // Traffic was heavy but smooth in the capital on Sunday morning as thousands of children went back to school and their parents returned to work after the summer break.

Police sent 140 traffic patrols to ensure the safety of pupils. And although traffic was thick, no major accidents were reported.

Police said they received 287 traffic-related calls from 8am to 2pm, mostly for minor incidents.

Many parents in Abu Dhabi set out on the school run earlier than normal to avoid the expected congestion.

“We had to leave at 6.50am so my children wouldn’t be late for school,” said Osama Jafar, 47, a Syrian. “Otherwise it would take 20 to 30 minutes just to reach here with all the buses and hundreds of cars on the road today.”

Mr Jafar delivered his daughters, aged 11 and 13, to the Rosary School on Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Street in Abu Dhabi.

Jordanian Najim Ali, whose two daughters also go to Rosary School, said the family left home early.

“We reached here at about 7.20am but I made sure that we left early,” Mr Ali said. “After 7am there will be a traffic jam and we might not reach school until 7.40am or even 8am.”

Lt Col Khamis Mohammed, deputy director of the Abu Dhabi Police traffic department, said the extra patrol cars were placed near schools to ensure parents were not blocking traffic as they dropped off their children.

“Thank God, the traffic right now is well under control,” Lt Col Mohammed said. “There were no traffic jams, no crashes and everyone was satisfied with the smooth flow of traffic to and from the schools.

“We have traffic police officers and policemen in each of the major junctions, roundabouts and near schools to also help the children safely cross the road.”

Traffic policemen directed cars and asked motorists not to block traffic while dropping their children off at Rosary School and Al Nahda School for Boys.

Lt Col Mohammed urged motorists to observe speed limits and reduce speed near schools.

A Tathqeef traffic safety patrol car was also present to assist policemen. Tathqeef aims to educate motorists about traffic safety.

Taxi drivers in Abu Dhabi said the main roads were gridlocked about 7.30am.

“Traffic was really bad almost everywhere,” said Rajin Babu, who works for Emirates Taxi. “It’s normal since there are hundreds of school buses on the road.”

Lt Col Mohammed called on bus drivers to ensure all pupils had boarded or exited before taking off. He asked them not to use mobile phones while driving.

rruiz@thenational.ae