Motorists driving on hard shoulder to quickly reach home for Iftar at 6.50 pm on a week day at Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed road towards Sharjah. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: With many residents fasting this Ramadan, motorists should be wary of tempers flaring up.

According to road safety experts, traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities tend to rise during the month of Ramadan.

The Ramadan lifestyle also has physical effects on our body - especially when coinciding with the hot summer season like this year. Fasting can result in dehydration and low blood sugar, which in turn can limit our attentiveness, concentration, vision and reaction.

Thomas Edelmann, founder of RoadSafetyUAE, said: “Our Ramadan Tips and Tricks focus on defensive driving techniques and on time management, but we also talk about seat belts, speeding and tailgating.”

To stay safe while driving on UAE roads, he advised motorists to use their lights during dawn as well as before Iftar, avoid fatigue and get enough sleep, and to pull over immediately when you start becoming drowsy.

“It is of utmost importance to know of the effects the Ramadan lifestyle can have on our own behaviour, as well as on the behaviour of other traffic participants.”

Edelmann explained that in addition to fasting, the unusual eating and sleeping patterns can cause fatigue, exhaustion, impatience and distraction.

“Just before sunset is a problematic time to be on the roads, because motorists tend to rush towards their Iftar appointments,” he said.

Edelmann pointed out that this pre-Iftar rush hour is a mix of psychological urges and physical needs and motorists might use this as an excuse to misbehave on the roads.

All traffic participants, like motorists, pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and bicyclists, must also be extra careful in this time slot.

“Motorists must realise that even if they arrive late for a Ramadan event, people will understand. Time management is vital and motorists are urged to leave early enough and to allow for a puffer time to reach their destination on time,” said Edelmann.

“We need a heightened awareness as well as a caring attitude for others in this special period of the year,” he added.

The top-5 most important road safety tips for Ramadan:

1. Be aware of your own limitations

2. Watch out for other traffic participants potentially under the same limitations

3. Expect the unexpected – we all must drive defensively

4. Plan your schedule properly and leave early to avoid the need of rushing and speeding

5. Always wear your seat belt – Ramadan is a good time to start this habit