Swerving between lanes too quickly and without mirror-checks or indicators has been the top cause of accidents. Image Credit: Shutterstock

SURVEY AT A GLANCE

A new survey — the seventh cycle of 'Road Safety Monitor' — shows stark numbers on perceptions of driving habits on UAE roads:

Dubai: Roads in the UAE are not getting safer even as the infrastructure improves and authorities continue to create awareness, a new survey has revealed.

According to the seventh cycle of "Road Safety Monitor", an independent study, 40 per cent of the motorists surveyed felt that roads have become more dangerous, while around 60 per cent said that they see in an increase in lane-swerving, one of the major causes of accidents.

Commissioned by i-Insured in partnership with RoadSafetyUAE, the survey conducted by YouGov in September 2018, is based on a representative sample of 1,016 UAE residents.

We applaud the authorities' continued efforts in further improving the road infrastructure, but unfortunately, we see reversals in all dimensions of reckless driving, namely in distracted driving, lane swerving, speeding, and tailgating.”

 - Thomas Edelmann
Managing Director of RoadSafetyUAE.


Reversal

Reflecting an alarming reversal in positive trends shown in the previous studies, the survey picked up negative perceptions in most of the road experiences of drivers.

The negative trend in road safety perceptions comes despite concerted efforts by authorities to create greater awareness, which has resulted in lower fatalities but yet to have a positive impact on the feelings of motorists.

World-class infrastructure

One of the very few positives of the survey is the thumbs-up given by UAE motorists to the country’ world class road infrastructure, with 83 per cent feeling that the roads have improved, but only 58 per cent said that the drive has become more enjoyable.

“We applaud the authorities' continued efforts in further improving the road infrastructure, but unfortunately, we see reversals in all dimensions of reckless driving, namely in distracted driving, lane swerving, speeding, and tailgating," said Thomas Edelmann, Managing Director of RoadSafetyUAE.

"Probably, as a result of these observed increases, the commute times went up. In contrast, we observe positive trends for further improved infrastructure and overall driving enjoyment,” added Edelmann.

Speeding

Compared to the previous survey, which was conducted in March 2018, 57 per cent of motorists said they saw more cases of speeding, up from 48 per cent in March, while 59 per cent agreed that cases of tailgating have increased, up from 51 per cent found in the sixth cycle of the study.

“It seems that we cannot take the foot off the pedal in terms of further educating UAE motorists about safe driving. On the one hand we enjoy further improved traffic infrastructure which leads to greater driving enjoyment, but on the other hand UAE motorists must realize their increasing misbehaviour and we must improve our driving manners,” said Edelman.

The survey also found 69 per cent of the motorists saying that they come across increasing cases of distracted driving, such as use of mobile phone, while 55 per cent felt that their commute to and from work has become longer, despite improvement in infrastructure.

“The ‘UAE Road Safety Monitor’ links the perception of UAE motorists to the main causes of road accidents. Perception counts and we have seen a strong correlation between the research findings and the recorded number of accidents and fatalities," Frederik Bisbjerg, Executive Vice-President Retail at i-Insured.

"Hence, this unique perception study provides valuable feedback about the impact of the involved stakeholders’ efforts aimed at increasing road safety,” Bisbjerg added.

Lane swerving

According to data released by the Ministry of Interior, sudden lane-swerving is among the major causes of accidents leading 21 per cent deaths on UAE roads, while speeding causes 11 per cent of road fatalities.

Tailgating and distracted driving, which includes use of mobile phone, eating, drinking, applying make-up etc., lead to 11 per cent of road fatalities each.

According to Dubai Police, 88 people lost their lives on Dubai roads till July this year, with lane-swerving leading to 28 of these deaths.

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 Sudden swerving: The dangers and the costs
 8,036 drivers fined for sudden deviation in two weeks
 5,852 sudden deviation offences recorded in Sharjah in 2015

A video posted by the UAE Ministry of Interior shows exactly what police mean when they refer to "sudden deviation" on the UAE’s roads.

Police across the UAE are also warning motorists on traffic rules and the associated fines for violating them

Flouting seatbelt rule

Not buckling up is also among the major causes of deaths in road accidents, as a recent report by Abu Dhabi Police said 60 per cent of the road fatalities could have been avoided if the drivers and passengers were seatbelts.

According to another research conducted by RoadSafetyUAE, many people are still not aware about the need to wear seatbelts, with the study showing 22 per cent of the motorists not wearing the buckling up all the time.