A motorist is tailgating on the inner lane of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road. Experts say such driving habits are a recipe for disaster. Additionally, they also warn against motorists who refuse to give way to faster vehicles. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Traffic radars in the capital will now capture tailgating and issue fines to violators, the Abu Dhabi Police announced on Monday.

The smart system, which will take effect on January 15, targets drivers who are not committed to leaving enough distance between vehicles on the roads. Violators will incur a fine of Dh400 and four traffic points.

Abu Dhabi Police will send out text messages to notify violating drivers and warn them about the fines in case of repeated tailgating instances.

Brigadier Mohammad Dahi Al Humairi, Director of the Traffic and Patrols Directorate at the Central Operations Sector, said a traffic awareness and control campaign is being conducted by the Abu Dhabi Police to check negative behaviour in line with the requirements of Section 52 of the Traffic Control Rules and Procedures No. 178 for 2017 that will be applied to violating drivers who do not leave enough space between vehicles.

The campaign includes raising traffic awareness for drivers in five languages through media and social media accounts of Abu Dhabi Police. The focus of the messages will be on the dire consequences of failure to comply with traffic laws and regulations, particularly the adverse effects of not leaving adequate distance between vehicles.

Brigadier Al Humairi appealed to motorists to leave sufficient distance behind vehicles to protect themselves and other road users from accidents.

The importance of leaving enough distance between two vehicles allows drivers to keep control and apply brakes on their vehicles with sufficient buffer space in the event of the vehicle in front stopping suddenly, he added.

The capital’s motorists welcomed the initiative, saying it would make the roads safer.

Abu Dhabi resident Riyazullah Khan said tailgating is a big problem and people come too close to vehicles on the highways.

“I believe drivers must exercise caution and abide by the rules. Those who drive slowly in the fast lane are also breaking traffic rules; they should abide by the speed requirements of the lane they are in,” Khan said.

Another resident who did not want to be named said, “Slowing down suddenly in the fast lane also causes cars to collide. The new buffer rule will help combat this problem too,”

What’s the minimum space?

Although Monday’s announcement does not specify the minimum space that is required to be left between vehicles, five-metre buffer zones between moving vehicles had long been proposed as a minimum.

But travel safety experts had earlier told Gulf News that this distance should be extended to greater lengths to give motorists more time and distance to brake more safely.

Five metres falls relatively short of the time and distance needed by motorists to react and brake to avoid colliding with motorists travelling ahead in the event of an accident. Distances of at least 40 metres between vehicles travelling at 80km/h marked through the use of chevrons painted on roads are common safety measures adopted in Canada, the United States and Europe.