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

Dubai: You might be in for trouble if you have the tendency to either bully your way through the ‘fast lane’ or hold on to the lane, not giving way to others.

While bullying on road (tailgating) is illegal and could lead to heavy fines and black points (Dh400 and four black points), not giving way to the vehicle approaching from behind on the ‘fast lane’ (far left lane) could lead to bullying and undertaking, putting lives in danger.

“Firstly, there is no such thing as the fast lane or the slow lane. For instance, all lanes on Shaikh Zayed Road carry the same 100 or 120km/h maximum and 60km/h minimum speed," said Ian Littlefield, training and EnQHSE manager, Dubai Driving Centre.

If you come up behind a slower car, do not bully or intimidate them, they may make a mistake that puts you both at risk.

- Ian Littlefield | Training and EnQHSE manager, DDC

"So if the road is empty, you can travel up to and including the speed limit in the rightmost lane, provided it will be safe for the road and weather conditions at the time,” Littlefield added. 

Fast lane myth

Explaining how the myth of "fast lane" crept into the psyche of the UAE drivers, he said: “Generally on the highway, the three lanes to the right or in some cases the rightmost lane are meant for slower moving vehicles such as buses and trucks, so this is what gives rise to the idea of a fast lane and a slow lane, but very simply you can travel up to and including the speed limit in any lane and you should keep as far to the right as you can unless you are overtaking.”

He said the no driver should insist on continuously driving on the far left lane, which many people consider as the ‘fast lane’.

Many drivers continuously drive on the far left lane and consider it as a fast lane on the road.

- Khalid Javed | Training and technical consultant

Khalid Javed, training and technical consultant at the Emirates Driving Institute, agreed, adding that selecting a safe lane and keeping the vehicle in a safe position on the road is an important skill that drivers must consciously adopt.

“It is important to understand that the left lane is only for overtaking and once you have overtaken any slow moving vehicle, you should return to the right lane as soon as it is safe to do so. Many drivers continuously drive on the far left lane and consider it as a fast lane on the road. They must understand that it is an overtaking lane, which should be utilised only for the overtaking purpose,” said Javed.

Ideal road behaviour

According to the experts, speeding on the far left lane, tailgating, repeatedly changing lanes and poor lane discipline are common behaviours on the highways that lead to accidents.

Image Credit: Gulf News

So what is the ideal road behaviour?

“Drivers should observe and anticipate which lane/position is safe for them on the road. It is always advisable to stay in the position where the visibility is absolutely clear, number of hazards is less in your surroundings and the driver has at least two escape routes (gates) which can be safely utilised during an emergency situation,” Javed explained.

Highlighting the ideal driving policy, Littlefield added: “You should travel in the rightmost lane unless you are overtaking a slower moving vehicle. After completing the overtaking manoeuvre you should return to the rightmost lane.”

Speeding, tailgating

While speeding and tailgating are matters of concern, particularly on the far left lane, slow movers who tend to take it upon themselves to regulate the speed of others, are also a nuisance.

'Do not get too close, if they panic and brake, you will be able to stop in time; you can get injured or even killed in the resulting crash.' Image Credit: Gulf News

“You are not the police and it is not your job to regulate the speed of others. Sitting in your lane even if there is a chance to move out of the way can cause tailgating, bullying and undertaking, all of which put you at risk, so take the first safe opportunity to move out of the way,” said Littlefield.

Urging motorists to be patient with slow moving vehicles, Littlefield added: “If you come up behind a slower car, do not bully or intimidate them, they may make a mistake that puts you both at risk.

A motorist tailgating dangerously not leaving enough distance between vehicles on high speed at Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed road. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani / Gulf News

“Do not get too close, if they panic and brake, you will be able to stop in time; you can get injured or even killed in the resulting crash.”

He also urged motorists not to undertake a slow moving vehicle as it is illegal and may also cause panic, leading to an accident.

Which lane is yours?

• You should travel in the rightmost lane unless you are overtaking a slower moving vehicle

• You should return to the rightmost lane after the overtaking manoeuvre

If a faster car comes up behind you:

• Think only of your own safety

• Take the first safe opportunity to move out of the way

• You are not the police and it is not your job to regulate the speed of the vehicle behind you

• Sitting in your lane even if there is a chance to move out of the way can cause tailgating, bullying and undertaking

If you come up behind a slower car:

• Do not bully or intimidate them, they may make a mistake that puts you both at risk

• Do not get too close – if they panic and brake, you will be able to stop in time; you can get injured or even killed in the resulting crash.

• Do not undertake – it is illegal and also they may panic and move into your path putting you both at risk

• A single flash of your lights as you approach will prompt most to notice you and move out of the way

If the vehicle ahead of you doesn’t give way:

• Reduce your speed

• Maintain your safety gap and be patient