Swapna Thomas1-1635950593229
Indian expatriate Swapna Thomas with the certificate. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: As traffic got busier on the roads with the Indian festival of Diwali just around the corner, a fresh batch of ten Dubai drivers were in for a surprise on the third day of the ‘Tristar Gold Star’ safe driving contest here today.

Each one of the ten motorists was awarded a cash prize of Dh1,000 and a certificate to honour their safe and responsible driving skills on the concluding day of the contest.

The annual contest, now in its seventh edition, has officials following motorists on Dubai roads, observing and assessing their driving skills. Those following safe driving practices such as wearing seat belts, keeping to a moderate speed, indicating while turning, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles and honouring several other road safety rules, are stopped and presented with certificates and cash prizes.

'I was not scared'

The immediate reaction on being asked to stop by an official for any motorist is that of guilt and fear. However, today, when Indian expatriate Swapna Thomas’s car was hailed to a stop by officials, she was not scared at all. “I was going to an Umm Suqueim salon, when officials signalled me to slow down and stop by the side. I have always been a safe driver for the last 20 years and am extra careful. However, I was perplexed. The officials were smiling and I could see their rather pleasant expression even behind their mask as their smiles were reaching their eyes,” said the mother of a young daughter.

The officials checked Thomas’ car registration and license and then asked her to follow them to their vehicle. “Here they introduced me to many other officials. All of them were smiling, so I was sure it was a good thing. When they awarded me Dh1,000, it really made my day,” said Thomas, 38, a private investment banker. Thomas, who was born and raised in Dubai, proudly displayed her certificate and award to her family.

Safe driver

Another expatriate who has been driving for seven years and took her first driver licence in Dubai, has always been a safe driver. Today, she said she had an appointment with the dentist and was driving to Mirdif when she was asked to stop at a by-lane. She recounted: “I was not afraid at all, but was in a hurry to reach the doctor. The officials were very polite and after initial verification of documents, they gave me a cash prize of Dh1,000, which was such a huge and pleasant surprise for me. I went to the dental appointment with a big smile on my face,” said the 26-year old marketing executive. She feels everyone must follow safe driving skills. My message to all other motorists is to exercise extra caution on the road to make driving a pleasurable experience always.”

Contest concludes

The contest, which concluded today and gave out cash prizes to a total of 30 safe and responsible motorists was supported by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Police.

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The main sponsor of the contest was the Tristar Group, and co-sponsor was BMW AGMC with Gulf News and Channel 4 Radio being the media partners of the highly successful campaign. This road safety initiative is the flagship event of Ciel Events.

Founder and organiser of the event, Roshanara Sait of Ciel Events and Marketing, said: “The UAE is a melting pot of nationalities with inherent cultural differences. We understand the importance of continuously spreading the road safety message and are aware that our road safety campaigns over the years have had far-reaching effects. Each winner is a vibrant example that helps in building the message within their own communities and we are extremely happy to celebrate their road-safety awareness."