x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Abu Dhabi to Dubai commuter blasts drivers’ ‘irresponsible behaviour’ as cause of accidents

Tailgating, not using indicators and a lack of courtesy among drivers are among the road safety issues in the UAE that Guillaume Cillié, who makes the 240-kilometre roundtrip every day from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, has encountered.

Guillaume Cillié says that he sees a lot of bad and dangerous driving on his 240km daily commute to and from work. Ravindranath K / The National
Guillaume Cillié says that he sees a lot of bad and dangerous driving on his 240km daily commute to and from work. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // For the past three months, Guillaume Cillié has been making a 240-kilometre round-trip to work in Abu Dhabi from his home at Jumeirah Beach Residence.

“It takes me 10 minutes on the road each morning to see four to five cars not driving safely like they should be,” said Mr Cillié, 27, a quantity surveyor from South Africa.

“Nobody is keeping a safe following distance. A driver is travelling on the fast lane when suddenly another driver swerves to the left lane and goes back again.”

Speed, he said, was a “minor” factor in traffic accidents.

“Police across the world have got one thing in mind as part of road safety – speeding is a major risk factor,” he said.

“But it is irresponsible behaviour that causes accidents. I heard over the radio the other day that they were asking motorists to check the conditions of their tyres.”

Col Hamad Nasser Al Balushi, head of the Peripheral Areas Traffic Department, warned motorists that faulty tyres could result in a fine of up to Dh200 and impoundment of the vehicle for a week.

“A tyre that is not fit for use is more dangerous than me going 21kph over the speed limit and getting fined Dh600,” Mr Cillié said.

It usually takes him 75 minutes from his home to his Abu Dhabi office on the Corniche.

“The road to Abu Dhabi from Dubai is one long stretch of road. What are the risks? There aren’t any,” Mr Cillié said. “Yes, speeding is risky if it’s on a Thursday afternoon and the highway is flooded with cars.”

He said he regularly saw motorists driving in the emergency lane to pass other cars.

“Everyone is in a hurry,” he said. “They are where they’re not supposed to be.”

On Wednesday, Mr Cillié spotted cars changing lanes on Muroor Road without using indicators, which he said showed a lack of courtesy and education among drivers.

“You see those cars driving past us?” he asked. “How many of them are not using indicators? How many of them are swerving?”

Traffic cameras have failed to act as an effective deterrent to speeding and dangerous driving, he said.

“The cameras are actually more of a risk,” Mr Cillié said. “When a driver sees a camera on the road, he slams on his brakes. My personal opinion on these cameras? It’s a money-making scheme. A lot of people can afford to pay the speeding [fine]. For a lot of people, Dh600 is nothing.”

Radar speed cameras are more like speed bumps, he said.

“You drive fast in between the bumps,” he said.

He believes education is key to preventing and reducing accidents along with effective patrolling and enforcement.

“There should be a change in the attitude towards driving,” Mr Cillié said. “Being safe is a choice one has to make. Drivers don’t look, they don’t pay attention.”