A motorist is tailgating on the inner lane of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road in Dubai. 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 Archives

Dubai: Slow driving in Dubai can be just as risky as driving too fast.

People think of speeding as negligent behaviour behind the wheel, but the truth is that slow drivers can affect safe flow of traffic and cause accidents. Such drivers were described by fellow drivers as ‘Road Turtles’ during a virtual conference between drivers and Dubai’s chief traffic prosecutor.

“How to deal with ‘road turtles’ or people driving as slow as a turtle?” sparked a discussion during the session as participants complained about slow drivers — especially those on the left lanes. Prosecutor General Salah Bu Farousha Al Felasi, Dubai’s Chief Traffic Prosecutor and Head of Dubai Traffic Public Prosecution, said slow drivers cause problems on Dubai roads as they may provoke other drivers to commit to risky moves such as tailgating.

Dangers of tailgating

“Slow driving on fast lanes is a problem as some drivers drive at a speed that is less than even the minimum speed stipulated. Those driving a slow speed should take the right lane and give a way to other drivers,” said Prosecutor Al Felasi. He said many accidents have happened in Dubai due to tailgating resulting from slow drivers.

“You can see a driver at a high speed trying to overtake a slow-moving vehicle, but when the fast-moving vehicle swerves to another lane, the driver of that vehicle may suddenly come across a slow-moving vehicle and end up hitting it from behind,” Al Felasi explained.

According to Dubai Traffic Law, people driving slow on the left lane can be slapped with a Dh400 fine. Al Felasi urged drivers not to act violently with slow drivers, but report them to police. “There are different channels to report such behaviour, such as the ‘We All Policemen’ programme,” he added.

Incident due to slow driving

Most main roads and highways in Dubai and UAE are equipped with speeding cameras. They are usually set to go off at speeds above the prescribed limit plus a grace of 20kmph. For example, if the prescribed speed limit is 100kmph then the camera gets triggered if a motorist is driving at 121kmph or higher.

Ahmed Jamal, who attended the virtual session, narrated a story about his friend who was driving on the fast lane of a road at 120kmph, while the road had a speed limit of 100kmph. Another driver just ahead of him was driving at 100kmph, without taking advantage of the 20kmph grace window. “My friend flashed to alert the other driver to switch lane, but he ignored him. So, my friend was forced to overtake the driver from the right lane and the other driver flashed his finger at him! My friend recorded the car number and filed a complaint with the police,” Jamal said.

Following the complaint, when the driver was summoned by the police, he insisted that he was driving according to the speed limit and there was no need for him to switch lane.

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Dh2,000 fine for dangerous driving

“Allowing access to the left lane to other drivers is a must as we don’t know whether the other drivers have an emergency or not. There are advanced radars on all roads to catch speeding. It cannot be an excuse for a driver, saying that he or she wouldn’t give way to others because he or she was following the speed limit,” Prosecutor Al Felasi added.

According to the law, driving in a way that poses a danger to a life or lives and to the safety of other road users can be penalised with a fine of Dh2,000. Failure to leave enough distance between vehicles can result in a fine of Dh400.