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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Road rage main driver behind Ramadan crashes

Six people died in road accidents in Dubai during Ramadan last year, accounting for four per cent of the 148 total deaths in the emirate

Dubai Police have urged motorists to remain calm while driving during Ramadan and to "remember that they are not the only ones who are fasting.” Chris Whiteoak / The National
Dubai Police have urged motorists to remain calm while driving during Ramadan and to "remember that they are not the only ones who are fasting.” Chris Whiteoak / The National

Road rage is one of the main catalysts for accidents during Ramadan, Dubai Police have said.

Six people died in road accidents in Ramadan last year, accounting for four per cent of the 148 total deaths in the emirate.

Maj Gen Mohammed Al Zafein, head of the Federal Traffic Council and assistant commander-in-chief of Dubai Police for Operations Affairs, said road rage causes motorists to drive recklessly and without patience.

“Road rage is experienced by some fasting drivers, particularly smokers. They get angry and do not respect those on the road. Those type of drivers need to calm down and remember that they are not the only ones who are fasting,” he said.

Of the six road deaths during the holy month last year, one died due to an accident caused by sudden swerving, three pedestrians were run over and another was reversed over by a fasting driver, Maj Gen Al Zafein said.

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Part of the traffic problem during Ramadan is speeding, which is exacerbated in the period just before iftar — ahead of maghrib prayers at around 7pm this year — when motorists speed home to break their fasts.

He said some fasting drivers may also suffer from concentration or dehydration problems, which negatively affected their driving attitudes.

“Most accidents took place in the last couple of hours before iftar time and early morning prayers, said Maj Gen Al Zafein.

“During these two periods, drivers speed and do not pay attention to the roads.”

Over the past three years, fifteen people died in car accidents between 6am and 2pm throughout Ramadan. Three people died in crashes between 2pm to 10pm during Ramadan last year, according to Dubai Police.

Dubai Police released the statistics during a conference on Wednesday.

They showed that road deaths decreased during Ramadan last year compared to the 20 deaths during the holy month in 2016.

Maj Gen Al Zafein said that Emirates Road and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road were the most dangerous during Ramadan over the past three years.

Eight people died on Emirates Road, four died on Mohammed bin Zayed Road, three died in Jebel Ali and two on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Last year, three of the deaths were caused by accidents involving lorries, which have been banned from the streets of Abu Dhabi during peak hours.

Dubai Police urged motorists to drive carefully and calmly throughout the holy month and indeed beyond. They advised drivers leave early enough to avoid feeling as though they must rush to arrive at their destinations.

Police will provide tips about safe driving in Ramadan on their social media channels and distribute awareness leaflets.

Patrols will be increased for the duration of the holy month and will be dispatched to areas where Ramadan tents are located.