x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Police warn of heightened road risk in fog

A police campaign to raise public awareness about the extreme risks of speeding in bad weather conditions starts today.

The Fog Tuesday pile-up on Sheikh Zayed Road near Ghantoot on March 11, 2008.
The Fog Tuesday pile-up on Sheikh Zayed Road near Ghantoot on March 11, 2008.

DUBAI // A police campaign to raise public awareness about the extreme risks of speeding in bad weather conditions starts today.

"Bad weather conditions - especially foggy conditions - increase the risk of accidents, as it impedes one's view," Maj Gen Saif al Zafein, the head of Dubai Traffic Police, said. "This, accompanied by speed - which in itself is a major cause of fatal accidents - is very dangerous.

"A police patrol has the right to fine anybody who does not slow down when instructed to by police, even if the motorist is driving within the permitted speed limit in foggy weather conditions," said Maj Gen al Zafein.

Maj Gen Jasim Mohammed bil Rumaitha, the director of Dubai Police operations, urged managers of government and private establishments to show consideration for their employees if they were delayed by bad weather conditions. "It is better to arrive late than not arrive ever, and employers should show consideration," he said.

Last year, five people died in accidents caused by bad weather conditions, and so far this year, three people have died, according to recent traffic statistics.

In March 2008, more than 200 cars crashed in heavy fog during morning rush-hour on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway near Ghantoot, killing four, injuring 350 others and leaving 20 cars blazing in the wreckage on what became known as Fog Tuesday.

"The percentage of accidents caused by bad weather makes up a small percentage of the total accidents, so it is easy to imply that the effect of weather on accidents is minimal. But if you take the fact that bad weather conditions in the UAE only take place over a short period of time, then real risk is obvious," said Maj Gen al Zafein.

The campaign, Beware of Changing Weather Conditions, is expected to end on December 19.

wissa@thenational.ae