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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

'Invisible' road markings in RAK to be repainted after safety concerns

Police taking action after drivers raise concerns over 'confusing' lane layout

The faded road markings on the clock roundabout on Sheikh Mohammed bin Salem Road are among the danger routes highlighted by motorists in RAK. Chris Whiteoak / The National
The faded road markings on the clock roundabout on Sheikh Mohammed bin Salem Road are among the danger routes highlighted by motorists in RAK. Chris Whiteoak / The National

"Invisible" road marking turning routes in Ras Al Khaimah into danger zones are set to be repainted amid safety concerns from worried motorists.

Drivers say worn markings on roads in the emirate increase the risk of accidents - especially for those new to the area.

Now police in RAK are recommending that hazardous roads are repainted to help cut down on accidents and improve traffic flow.

Jamal Al Sror, a car dealer in RAK, says many roads and roundabouts lack visible lane markings, posing a risk to drivers.

“It’s definitely confusing to people coming from other emirates as you can’t tell if you are driving in the main lane or the service lane or if the road is divided into two or three lanes, nothing is clear,” said Mr Al Sror.

“We have grown used to it but the problem is that other drivers might suddenly change the lane and hit you.

“The clock roundabout lanes have disappeared as well as lanes on many parts of Khuzam Road. Many accidents happen on that roundabout due to the lack of proper lane marks and it should be repainted to avoid such incidents.

Abdullah Al Shahhi, 39, who lives in the Seih Al Qusaidat area, says speed bumps which are poorly marked can prove "dangerous".

“It’s quite common to be surprised with a small speed bump while driving on internal roads as most of them are without reflective paint and invisible in the dark, which can be dangerous to first-time visitors,” said Mr Al Shahhi.

"The lanes on one side of Sheikh Mohammed bin Salem Road were recently painted but they haven't started with the other side yet.

"It is one of the major roads in the emirate and should the first to be reconstructed."

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Colonel Ahmad Al-Naqbi, director of the traffic and patrol department at RAK Police, said discussions are under way to revamp the road infrastructure.

“The Department recently held a meeting with the Public Works and Services and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and recommended the re-planning and painting of the roads and pedestrian crossings, as well as the reconstruction of traffic lights on vital intersections to minimise accidents and ensure smooth flow,” said Col Al-Naqbi.

Ahmade Al Hamadi, director general of RAK Public Works and Services, said the authority is currently assessing a number of offers to implement the upgrade programme.

“Some road engineering companies have already submitted their proposals, which are being considered carefully in order to choose the most appropriate offer,” said Ahmad Al Hamadi.

Campaigner Thomas Edelmann, Managing Director of Road Safety UAE, said road markings must be in "immaculate" condition to aid drivers.

“Lane swerving, lack of lane discipline and pedestrian run-overs are always among the top ten causes of death in the UAE," said Mr Edelmann.

"Therefore road markings must be in immaculate condition in order to help motorists to orientate themselves and be in the correct lane. It is the same for pedestrian crossings as motorists must be able to spot them well ahead.”

Mr Edelmann said that road features such as speed bumps and stop signs must also be well maintained.

“Although the streets of the UAE are typically very well lit, reflective paints add an element of safety through better visibility in twilight and during the night,” he said.

He added that in some countries, creative 3D zebra-crossings have been introduced to raise the awareness and the visibility for pedestrians, especially in residential areas.

“Road markings can be used in creative ways and play a vital role in road safety,” said Mr Edelmann.

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