Picture for illustrative purposes Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: UAE commuters were stuck in traffic jams on Sunday as workers head back to office and the students back to school on the first day of the week.

Gridlocks delayed motorists in many parts of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, especially in major highways and road networks in residential communities.

Traffic has been particularly bad for UAE residents since schools re-opened in September after a long summer break. Road accidents, coupled with closures, have also contributed to congestions.

An estimated 1.6 million students returned to schools on the first day of class last September 2. And to ensure not just a smooth traffic flow in school zones, the Dubai Police issued a reminder on Sunday, calling on all students to remain in their seats until their bus has come to a complete stop, and leave in an orderly manner.

As of 9:40am, a 4.58-kiometre stretch spanning from the Abu Dhabi-bound lane of E11 near Wafi Mall to Shaikh Zayed Road near Emirates Towers was jammed, with delays lasting for about seven minutes.

Extreme congestions have likewise stalled commuters in the Dubai-bound lane of Al Ittihad St. in Sharjah, as well as in areas near Hor Al Anz East, Al Nahda 1 and some parts of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, Shaikh Rashid Road and Karama in Dubai.

As of 11am, a section of Ras Al Khor road in Dubai was also heavily congested, as shown in the map below.

Slow-moving traffic on Ras Al Khor Road at past 11am. (Google map)

Commuters plying the Al Arouba St in Sharjah were likewise stuck in extremely slow traffic as of 11:15am

Extreme traffic in Sharjah at past 11am. (Google map)

In Abu Dhabi, congestions were reported in areas near the Sas Al Nakheel Bridge at past 9pm and Mussafah Bridge at past 8am.

Although traffic in the UAE worsens during peak hours, the country’s roads aren’t the most congested in the world.

A typical driver in UAE spends 24 hours in congestions at peak times, ranked 21st out of more than 30 countries, according to traffic information provider Inrix. In Dubai, sitting in traffic eats 10 per cent of the total time that drivers spend on their daytime commutes and 12 per cent during peak hours.

The city with the world’s worst traffic jams is Los Angeles, where each driver spends an average of 102 hours in rush-hour traffic a year.