A car that overturned on Shaikh Zayed Road near Jebel Ali. Image Credit: Courtesy: Dubai Police

Dubai: It takes just three seconds of inattentiveness behind the wheel to cause a road fatality, latest traffic research has revealed.

According to the research presented by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) during the inaugural day of Gulf Traffic Week 2015, around 80 per cent of car crashes are caused by drivers who lose attention for a span as short as three seconds prior to the accident.

“Human behaviour is always the major cause of accidents, not just in the UAE, but across the world. Our studies have showed that it just takes a few seconds of distraction for a crash to occur,” said Deema Hussain, Traffic Awareness Manager at RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.

Since human behaviour is the key in maintaining road safety, the RTA has chosen the theme ‘Your decision determines your fate’ for the Gulf Traffic Week campaign this year, Deema added.

“What we are trying to say here is that our fate is in our own hands and how we choose to drive will determine our safety on the roads. Focusing on the road and paying attention to our surroundings can reduce more than 50 per cent of the dangers,” she added.

According to RTA studies, the three main causes of fatal road accidents in Dubai over the last two years are sudden lane change, tailgating and lack of respect for other road users.

“As many as 63 per cent of fatal accidents in Dubai over last two years were caused by these three simple errors, which are easily avoidable,” said Deema. “Showing more consideration for other road users, leaving enough space between vehicles and being more careful while changing lanes could reduce more than half of fatal accidents on Dubai roads,” she said.

The Gulf Traffic Week 2015 is being held from March 8 to 12, with a host of activities and awareness programmes lined up across the city.

The RTA is conducting workshops in schools and hospitals that will drive home the message of road safety among children and mothers alike, while awareness programmes in malls and public places are also being held.

One of the messages the RTA is trying to disseminate relates to how drivers must respond during a brake or cruise control malfunction.

“We have seen quite a few cases of brake and cruise control malfunctions over the last couple of years. In most cases, drivers panic and don’t know how to react. We have a few suggestions for motorists in such situations,” said Deema.

She said drivers should never turn off the engine when there is a brake or cruise control malfunction as this could lock the steering.

She also advised against using the handbrake under such circumstances.

“The safe way to handle such malfunctions is to move the gear lever in neutral position and press the brake pedal repeatedly till the vehicle stops. This is a proven method to ensure safety under such circumstances,” she added.

Activities held as part of the GCC Traffic Week will include lectures, forums, competitions and awareness campaigns across the country.


Three main causes of accidents

1. Sudden lane change

2. Not leaving safe distance

3. Lack of respect for pedestrians