Dubai: Exhaustion and drowsiness are the two leading causes of accidents during Ramadan, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has warned motorists urging drivers to be extra cautious while fasting.
As part of its awareness campaign to enhance road safety during the fasting month, the RTA has teamed up with the Ministry of Interior to ensure ‘Accidents-Free’ Ramadan.
The campaign aims to create awareness amongst motorists about the risks of driving when feeling exhausted or sleepy, especially during Ramadan when motorists are more likely to lose concentration due to changes in eating and sleeping patterns.
According to the RTA, the variations of sleep patterns and office timings during Ramadan tend to influence the concentration of fasting motorists, which is visible in the hectic rush from the office to home at a time when drivers’ concentration drops to the minimum.
“This impacts the ability of the driver to take an appropriate decision at the right time. Therefore, extra caution and attention is required when driving from the workplace to home to avoid traffic accidents,” said a RTA official.
Most accidents that take place in Ramadan are attributed to the lack of safe distance between vehicles.
“Drivers are advised to switch on air-conditioners while driving as heat gives rise to the feeling of exhaustion. The driver has to maintain an upright position while seated and keep the head raised while driving,” the official suggested.
Drivers are recommended to take a sufficient amount of rest before sitting behind the wheel and cease driving once they feel very tired or drowsy.
The RTA spokesperson added: “Resting for a short period may help the driver to complete the journey safely. Once drivers hear the call for Maghreb prayer while driving, it is advisable for them to stop for a light iftar, even if it includes a glass of water and few dates, before resuming the journey.”
Engaging with the motorists through various channels, including social media and educative advertisements, the RTA has so far sent about 300,000 text messages to motorists urging them to drive safely during Ramadan.
Leaflets and Ramadan gifts are being distributed at customer service centres in cooperation with Emirates Driving Institute, Al Mutakamela Vehicle Testing and Registration Company, and Listerine.
Iftar meals along with awareness leaflets are being distributed to drivers of heavy trucks at rest stops on highways in collaboration with Middle East Specialised Cables Company (MESC).
The RTA has changed the timing for heavy truck movement on Dubai roads during Ramadan, with the ban on movement coming into effect between 7.30am and 9.30am as against the regular prohibition hours from 6.30am to 8.30am. On E11, the truck ban will be effective from 7am to 11pm.
Tips for Motorists
■ Take sufficient amount of rest before driving. When you feel tired or drowsy, stop driving immediately.
■ Ensure that the vehicle is properly air-conditioned as a hot interior causes exhaustion.
■ Avoid reclining 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.
■ Ensure a safe distance is maintained between you and the vehicle in front.