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Dubai: Exhaustion and drowsiness are the two leading causes of accidents during Ramadan, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has said as part of its awareness campaign.

“As concentration rate drops while fasting due to changes in the body, motorists should be extra careful,” Maitha Mohammad Bin Adai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.

Safe distance

She said that most traffic accidents that take place during Ramadan are attributed to not maintaining safe distance between vehicles.

About 182 accidents took place during Ramadan last year, resulting in 13 fatalities and 98 injuries, according to Dubai Police statistics.

“Motorists are urged to leave sufficient distance between vehicles and ensure that the air-condition is effective as the hot weather contributes to the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion. Moreover, the driver has to keep his or her back in an upright position with the head up during driving,” added Maitha.

She called upon drivers of light and heavy vehicles to take sufficient rest before driving, and park once they feel exhausted, drowsy or yawning.

“A short rest would help the driver complete the journey safely,” she noted.

She also called on motorists to park on the roadside when they hear the call for Maghrib prayer, and take a light breakfast, before resuming their journeys.

Sudden swerving

Maitha alerted against the risks of sudden swerving, as it is the biggest factor responsible for serious and fatal accidents.

Statistics and studies clearly indicated last year that sudden swerving had caused 572 accidents in Dubai, constituting 19.5 per cent of the total number of traffic accidents.

Truck movement ban

Heavy truck movement is banned during the month of Ramadan on Al Ittihad Road, Shaikh Zayed Road from interchange 7 till the link with the Shaikh Rashid Road (from Zabeel Tunnel to Al Garhoud Tunnel).

Changes have also been made to the timing for the ban in truck movement in Deira and Bur Dubai. Heavy trucks would not be allowed in these areas from 7am to 11pm instead of the regular prohibited hours of 6am to 10pm.

Truck movement ban is also modified by one hour in the morning period in on the other roads in the emirate from 7.30am to 9.30am instead of the usual timing of 6am to 8.30am.

Truck movement is banned throughout the year in Shindagha Tunnel, Al Maktoum Bridge, Floating Bridge, Al Garhoud Bridge, Business Bay Crossing and the Airport Tunnel.

Tips for motorists

Take sufficient amount of rest before driving. When you feel tired or drowsy, stop driving immediately. Driving while feeling exhausted is like driving under the influence of drugs.

Ensure that the vehicle is properly air-conditioned as a hot interior makes you feel tired.

Avoid reclining on the seat more than needed, and try to keep your back straight and head up while driving.

When iftar time sets in while driving, stop over and take a light breakfast, even if water and dates, before resuming your journey.

Always anticipate a sudden movement from the vehicle in front of you, especially cyclists and motorcyclists.

Most accidents that take place during Ramadan are attributed to the lack of leaving sufficient distance. Therefore ensure that a safe distance is maintained between your vehicle and that in the front.