I would like to shed light on an issue that I come across regularly around Dubai. It is a common practice for motorists to park their cars on the side of the road, turn on the hazard lights and run into a nearby store. This might happen because the parking area around the store is full and they are in a rush.
We all know that this practice is illegal and the authorities can levy a fine on the motorist for leaving the car running.
A few days ago, I came across a man who had blocked the road entirely. On Dubai Airport Road, this driver left his vehicle parked in the middle of the road and went to a nearby convenience store. This is a dangerous act and entirely unacceptable. He switched off his car, locked it and walked away. I can understand if there’s no parking and it is an emergency. But, this man went in and was having a conversation with someone and drinking tea. I thought about approaching him, but was sure he would tell me it was none of my business.
This behaviour causes inconvenience as the car is blocking the turn (as seen in photograph). If someone is driving fast, they might not notice the vehicle and crash into it. Many times motorists will sound their car’s horn trying to get the drivers to move.
There are times when the police patrol will arrive at such a scene and sound the car’s siren. The people will then come running and move the car. I’ve even seen people reversing into other vehicles or hitting cars in their hurry to not get a fine.
I discussed this issue with Ebrahim Shah, a driver based in Dubai, and he agreed that it is extremely careless on the motorists’ part.
He said: “This problem is prevalent, especially when we go shopping in an area with less parking spaces around the stores. We can see a number of people parking their vehicles and blocking others. We have to keep sounding the car’s horn for them to come. It gets irritating.”
Yousuf Ali, a sales executive based in Dubai, agrees with his sentiments.
He said: “I have to travel all over the UAE and my car has been blocked a number of times, which causes delays.”
He has got into heated arguments with car owners who don’t seem to respect other people’s valuable time and privacy.
I think that the authorities should not give consideration to such drivers who park their vehicles in front of a store or double park and block other vehicles. They could start with a warning slip to the motorists and repeat offenders should receive a fine immediately as they cause trouble to other drivers. Their vehicles should also be towed.
— The reader is a sales coordinator based in Dubai.
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According to a Gulf News report published in July 2016, leaving a vehicle on the road with its engine running will result in a fine of Dh300. This is based on the Unified Federal Traffic Law issued by the Ministry of Interior. Additionally, parking behind vehicles and blocking their movement will also result in a fine of Dh300. Blocking traffic will lead to a Dh200 fine.