UAE | Leisure

Lessons galore on dune-bashing jaunt

Gulf News, sponsors actively promoting safe driving campaign and caring for the environment

  • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 January 13, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
  • Volunteers make final preparations at the Gulf News’ offices ahead of the Fun Drive today. Over 300 Gulf News personnel will man checkpoints and help with logistics.

Dubai: All brakes must be checked, spare tires secured, and seatbelts fastened — all these reminders and more are highlighted in a checklist that was given to the more than 2,400 Gulf News readers who will head to the desert of the Liwa region today.

For its 31st Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive, the English paper reiterates its campaign for safe driving and caring for the environment by showing the ways of the desert through an action-packed yet lesson-filled drive.

But Gulf News is not alone in achieving this goal; it is one with its sponsors in making sure that as the off-roaders hit the sand and bash the dunes of Liwa, these core messages will go with them throughout their drive.

NMC Hospital, which is providing medical assistance at the camp for example, believes that the event is "a great initiative in creating awareness and in promoting healthy habits and behaviours among the population."

"NMC Healthcare has always been at the forefront of supporting such noble causes," Dr B.R. Shetty, managing director and CEO of NMC Healthcare, said.

"Road accidents are one of the leading causes of death in this country and the world — such accidents are a very tragic and completely avoidable loss of precious life," he said.

"It is in this same vein that NMC Healthcare is happy to be a part of the Gulf News Fun Drive - ensuring the safety and health of all the participants is a mission we are proud to undertake," he added.

As much as driving safely is a primary concern for off-roaders, the desert heat and the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun could also be an issue. Having protection from inside one's vehicle is very important as it could pose some threat to the participants as they are exposed to it for a long period, Shome Bag, marketing manager of 3M said.

"We promote safe driving through our window films, endorsed by the Global Skin Cancer Foundation, which are designed to make you drive safely [during the night] and during the day," Bag said.

To protect the environment, both companies said they only engage in business practices that are sustainable. In the Fun Drive itself, some tips and tricks on reducing one's carbon footprints will be dished out to participants in the evening.

Useful tips
  • Sticky situations

Spinning the wheel endlessly helps to work against your objectives and sinks your wheel further. Deflate your tires to as low as around 8 to 12 lbs, it will help you get unstuck. Make sure you re-inflate your tires immediately or you may risk damaging your rims. You can also use the spare mat under the wheel to give it a bit more traction.

  • What to do if you stall?

If your vehicle is about to stall on steep incline or decline, do not depress the clutch. This could cause the vehicle to "free wheel" and you could lose control very quickly. Instead, first turn off the ignition and apply the foot brake very hard. Then apply the parking brake. After selecting a suitable route back down the hill, slowly depress the clutch, put it in reverse, let the clutch out, and simultaneously release the parking brake and the foot brake slowly. Then start the engine. With an automatic transmission, never shift the gear lever to Park, as this may lock the transmission and you may not be able to release it without the aid of a winch.

—Iman Sherif/Staff Reporter

Gulf News