x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Police warn against accidents during Ramadan rush hour

Police appeal to hungry motorists to take extra care as they head home to break their fast this month.

ABU DHABI // Police have appealed to hungry motorists to take extra care as they head home to break their fast this month. During rush hour in Ramadan - from 5pm to 6pm - roads become more dangerous with drivers, eager to get home in time for evening prayers and iftar, speeding and paying less attention to the rules of the road.

"People drive worse at this time of day," said Capt Haji al Bloushi, traffic control manager for the Abu Dhabi Traffic Police. "Because they are fasting they do not concentrate as well by the end of the day. People are hungry and they want to go home to rest and see their families. We want everyone to finish Ramadan and enjoy Eid without getting into any accidents." On Monday night there were a number of accidents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai just before iftar, despite there being fewer cars on the road.

As part of the Abu Dhabi Police's efforts to make sure everyone is safe during the holy month, officers have started to distribute more than 1,000 iftar snack boxes each day. The packages, containing dates, water and other foods, are handed out free to any motorist who asks for one. The hope is that people still a long way from home will stop to pray and break their fast during their journey, allowing them to continue at a more leisurely pace. Police are especially keen for anyone who was not able to eat in the morning before starting their fast to take advantage of the handouts.

But it is not only the arrival of Ramadan that is increasing pressure on drivers and police. "The schools are open again and there are many people coming back from holiday, which means there are more cars on the road than there have been since the start of the summer," said Capt Bloushi. "This is traffic month." The police had more than enough resources to meet the challenge, he added. "We are doing extra patrols near schools as the children come back, and we have more officers near the malls and places such as the Madinat Zayed, where people gather during the evening throughout Ramadan.

"We just want people to be careful, to behave on the roads and not drive too fast. This is a special time of the year and we want people to enjoy it without getting hurt. If you are out driving, be careful, be careful, and be careful again." @email:gmcclenaghan@thenational.ae