x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Warning to motorists across the UAE during wet conditions

As unsettled weather conditions continue, drivers are being urged to take more care when out on the roads.

ABU DHABI // Motorists are advised to take extra care when driving in rain or when conditions are wet, experts said on Friday.

Forecasters warned of a chance of scattered rain over the northern and eastern regions on Friday.

Temperatures are expected to drop and the waters of the Arabian Gulf will be rough, according to a weather advisory by the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS).

On Saturday, there will be a chance of some rain over the northern coast and there will likely be rain over some coastal areas on Sunday. The sea is expected to be rough on both days, the NCMS said.

“The prevailing conditions will increase the risk of being involved in a collision, as the road surface has much less grip and visibility for the driver can be seriously reduced,” said Dino Kalivas, the director of training at Emirates Driving Company in Abu Dhabi. “Drivers may also find themselves distracted by the weather conditions.”

The driving company recommends that drivers follow these simple steps to ensure both their and other road users’ safety during wet weather and difficult conditions:

1. Make your vehicle more visible, turn on your head and tail lights.

2. Check the condition of your windscreen wipers and replace them if they are more than 12 months old and make sure your windows and windscreen are clean.

3. Check that your tyres have enough tread, at least the depth of a matchstick head or more. Tyres also have minimum tread depth markings. The tread is vital to clearing water between the road surface and the tyre. Also check you tyres for any cuts or bulges and have them replaced if need be.

3. Plan your trip more carefully, avoid driving if you can or take an alternative route that may have less traffic.

4. Leave extra distance between yourself and the vehicle in front, as braking in the wet can increase to nearly double the distance in the rain. So maintain at least three seconds between you and the car in front.

5. Maintain a safe speed when negotiating bends, especially when entering and exiting intersections and junctions on motorways, so you have maximum control of your vehicle.

6. Avoid being distracted while driving by mobile phones or other devices; concentrate on your driving.

7. Always wear your seat belt and make sure your passengers are wearing theirs. Statistics indicate that you increase your chance of serious injury or death by 50 per cent when you are not restrained by a seat belt. This includes infants and children who should be in the correct child seat appropriate to their age.

8. Do not take any unnecessary risks. Avoid crossing roadways covered by water, as their depth and flow of water can be difficult to estimate. Wadis are very dangerous and unpredictable.

9. Always scan the road well ahead and be prepared to avoid debris. Always anticipate what may be ahead.

rruiz@thenational.ae