Dubai: Around 2,300 participants can now download a special tracking app to assist them during this weekend’s Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive, organisers said on Wednesday.
The app, available on both the Apple and Android app stores, will be used to track Fun Drive participants during their journey through the Liwa desert’s sandy dunes.
Using mobile data connectivity, the app helps the drive’s marshals — who number in the hundreds — to keep track of each driver. By keeping track of each vehicle, marshals can check if any driver is in need of help.
The app will be active only during the event, and needs internet access to work properly. However, it consumes very little data.
The organisers recommend that participants keep their mobile phones connected to the car phone charger while running the Fun Drive app in tracking mode.
Around 850 4x4 cars have registered for the Fun Drive, which has taken place almost every year since 1986.
This year’s edition of the Fun Drive — marking the 36th in the annual series — is taking place on January 13 and 14.
Designed to keep the whole family entertained, participants are promised a weekend of exhilarating desert off-roading, camping and entertainment.
The Friday-Saturday break will see a flag-off in Al Fathiya on Hameem Road, ending at the Moreeb Dune camp in Liwa region, located at the start of the Empty Quarter.
Ready to hit the dunes? Here are some handy tips:
*Participants are expected to arrive at the start-off point at Al Fathiya on Hameem Road by 7am on Friday morning. But you may want to get up early. A drive from The Dubai Mall to there takes roughly three hours.
*Can’t bring food? Don’t worry. Organisers are laying out meals, including breakfast, and will give each vehicle some snacks, a case of water, a goody bag and lunch boxes. However, if you are particularly picky about food, you might want to stock up in advance.
*If you have a breakdown or small accident in the desert, please take a picture on the phone. Marshals can help you with a police report. Police will be stationed at the Moreeb camp in the police cabin next to the Fun Drive control cabin. Reports can be filed from 6 to 11pm on January 13. Don’t forget your car registration card and driving licence.
*Before you hit the dunes, make sure to deflate your tyres to around 18psi. You can check the tyre pressure with a pressure gauge available at most petrol stations. Then, after a few hours of driving, make sure to check the tyres again — heat and friction can often raise the tyre pressure.
*When driving through the desert, don’t forget to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the car in front of it. Organisers recommend keeping a space of at least two car lengths. And don’t forget to maintain speed. Veterans who have marshalled the Fun Drive for years say there’s no better way to get stuck than to suddenly drive slow.
IMPORTANT: If you need assistance at any time during the Fun Drive, call 800 4125. The team will be on call to help out.