190823 dust storm
Driving during a dust storm can challenging, not just because of reduced visibility but also the effect of sand drifts on tyres. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: If you are about to get into your car to get to work and feel that a dust storm might be coming, there are a few driving tips that you should keep on top of your mind. Whenever the UAE experiences extreme weather conditions, whether because of a dust storm, heavy fog or rain, police authorities and the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) immediately issue alerts, advising motorists to stay safe on the roads.

Driving during a dust storm can be challenging, not just because of reduced visibility but also the effect of sand drifts on tyres, according to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). In its official learners’ handbook for driving students, RTA states: “Sand on the roads can be dangerous, as tyre grip is reduced and it can be more difficult to work out where the edge of the road is.”

In order to stay safe on the road, here are five rules that you should follow:

1. Before you drive - check the car’s headlights

As dust storms can drastically reduce visibility, it is important to ensure that your car’s headlights are working. On its official website – www.rta.ae, RTA states: “Before driving in dusty weather ensure that all your car headlights work well. Please be careful while driving in dusty weather and reduce your speed while switching lanes for your safety and that of others.”

2. Slow down

The RTA learners’ handbook also states: “Dust from vehicles coming towards you may hide unexpected hazards, such as other vehicles, a dip or a corner. Dust thrown on to windows can also stop you from being able to see. Slow down and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Drive at a speed that is safe for the road conditions, because you may need longer time to come to a stop.”

3. Do not take pictures or videos while driving

When driving in conditions of reduced visibility, it is also extremely important to not be distracted. In the past, Abu Dhabi Police has advised motorists to stay focussed when driving, particularly when driving in conditions of reduced visibility.

4. Do not use your hazard lights

The Ministry of Interior has also previously raised awareness about the rules motorists should follow when driving in dusty conditions. The Ministry urged motorists to not use hazard lights while driving and ensure that you stick to your lane.

5. Pull up the windows

RTA also provides the following advice to motorists who are driving in dusty conditions on its website: “If the weather gets dusty while driving, close your windows and turn on the AC for your safety on the road.”