Dubai: Motorists violating the safe distance traffic rule will be fined Dh 400 and slapped with four black points on the spot, in an effort to curb the increase in fatalities, said a senior police official.

During a press conference to raise awareness about traffic rules and regulations, Lieutenant Colonal Ali Ganim, Director of Bur Dubai Police Station pointed out the importance of abiding by the safe distance rule as it has contributed to an increase in fatalities.

According to him, 185 accidents were reported in 2007 which resulted in 17 deaths while in 2009 the number of accidents dropped to 139 but witnessed a rise in fatalities reaching to 32 within the first 10 months only.

“Not maintaining enough distance between vehicles is considered one of the highest causes of minor and severe accidents in Dubai. We have especially launched the awareness campaign during the winter season due to the increase in such accidents,” he said.

Statistics revealed by Dubai Police Traffic Department indicated that over 43,200 accidents for not keeping safe distance between vehicles were recorded since the beginning of 2009.

The awareness campaign, which lasts for about 10 days kicked off on Sunday, will extensively educate the public through different mediums on the safe distance rule.

The three-second rule

The rule of thumb is to gauge the optimum distance by picking a random object and trying to maintain a three-second gap between the vehicle and that object while on the move. Start counting as you approach a traffic sign or roadside tree.

Speed (km/hr)  Safe distance(Meters) Length in  vehicles
40 35 7
60 52 10
70 62 13
80 69 14
90 76 15
100 90 18
120 104 21

The rule or regulation to measure the appropriate distance is picking a landmark and start counting to three between the vehicle and that object.

The object could be another car, a traffic sign post, traffic signal, a tree, to name a few. If the motorist reaches that object before finishing the count then the driver didn’t keep enough distance.

“On a clear-sky day and during normal traffic flow the motorists should follow the three seconds rules or otherwise risk hitting a car. During a rainy day the rule should be tripled to become a 9 seconds rule,” he said.

As an example if a motorist is driving 40 km per hour then there should be a distance of 35 meters which is equivalent to 7 cars. If a motorist is driving 120 km per hour then the distance should be 104 meters, he said.  

Facts & figures:

Here are the figures on number of accidents and fatalities caused by insufficient distance between cars in the last few years:


  • Accidents: 185
  • Fatalities: 17


  • Accidents: 271
  • Fatalities: 16

2009 (first 10 months):

  • Accidents: 139
  • Fatalities: 32

Send us your comments

Do you think black points and financial penalties are effective in stopping motorists from tailgaiting? Or is stricter action needed to tackle the issue? Add your thoughts below.