x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Abu Dhabi motorists warned not to stop in yellow-box junctions

Drivers in traffic should look ahead and proceed with caution when crossing a traffic light and avoid stopping in a yellow box junction, road safety experts have said.

Junctions marked with yellow boxes are the subject of the UAE’s latest push to make the roads safer for all. Lee Hoagland / The National
Junctions marked with yellow boxes are the subject of the UAE’s latest push to make the roads safer for all. Lee Hoagland / The National

ABU DHABI // Road safety experts have backed a campaign to warn drivers not to stop in yellow-box junctions and block the flow of traffic.

“Motorists should always be observant and check for signs on the approach to intersections,” said Dino Kalivas, training and road safety adviser at Emirates Driving Company (EDC).

“Signs are well-posted and indicate to drivers if they are regular intersections or yellow box, and they should also look into the direction they are turning and see if the road after the intersection is clear.”

Thomas Edelmann, founder of the website Road Safety UAE, said drivers should obey the law and enter the yellow box junction when their exit is free.

“Otherwise, you are risking fines and the anger of other traffic participants you might block.”

Their comments follow an advisory campaign launched this week by the Abu Dhabi Safety and Traffic Solutions Committee.

Stopping your vehicle in the yellow box may cause traffic congestion and the penalty for stopping on a yellow box junction is Dh500, it warned motorists.

The surface of the junction is marked with a criss-cross grid of diagonal yellow painted lines as a road traffic control measure to prevent congestion and gridlock at junctions.

“The main reason for introducing the yellow zone is to keep intersections open and allow traffic to flow in an organised manner,” said Khaled Al Mansoori, vice chief executive at EDC. “During the past few years in Abu Dhabi, drivers have improved their behaviour in general.”

Drivers enter yellow box intersections inappropriately especially during peak traffic hours as they are impatient and want to beat the traffic lights, Mr Kalivas said.

“Often drivers know that they are breaking the law and their behaviour can only be described as selfish and not respecting the law,” he said.

“In addition to it being illegal, drivers can place themselves and other vehicles entering intersections at risk of a collision.”

Abdul Salman, a 32-year-old taxi driver from Pakistan, said the desire to meet their Dh400 daily quota forces some of his colleagues to run traffic lights and stop in a yellow box junction.

“They do not want to waste time in traffic so they enter junctions even if their exits are not clear,” he said. “If we follow traffic rules, we will not have any problems on the road.”

Iftekhar Ahmed, 56, an electrical engineer in Abu Dhabi who launched a campaign last year on pedestrian safety, said traffic junctions should be kept free of queuing traffic.

“Drivers who stop at yellow-box junctions impede traffic, creating problems for rescue and emergency vehicles that need to reach their destinations on time,” he said. “They can also cause fatal crashes involving other motorists and innocent pedestrians.”

Police have been taking steps to improve safety at junctions over the past few months.

A series of traffic safety awareness campaigns on the dangers of driving through a red light was launched in March by Abu Dhabi Police’s Traffic and Patrols Directorate.

During the first quarter of the year, 185 new radar speed cameras were installed across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Col Khalifa Al Khaili, director of the traffic and road safety engineering department, said the increase in the number of cameras was part of the directorate’s traffic safety improvement strategy based on what it calls the “six Es”: enforcement; education; engineering; emergency response; evaluation; and engagement, plus integration. 

Abu Dhabi Police launched an awareness campaign last year on the risks involved when stopping in a yellow box junction.

Al Ain Police distributed pamphlets last October to educate drivers on the need to comply with traffic rules, make way for vehicles coming from the opposite direction, and ensure a smooth traffic flow within the yellow-box junctions.

rruiz@thenational.ae