Abu Dhabi/Dubai/Sharjah: The massive sandstorm that swept across the UAE with an eerie orange glow wreaked havoc on major highways and city streets.
With severely reduced visibility, many motorists found themselves in fender benders prompting a flurry of police officers to respond to accidents in all corners of the nation.
In Abu Dhabi, police reported a 24-year-old Emirati woman was caught in an accident due to the morning’s weather on the Dubai-Al Ain road. The victim, who was seriously injured, was transported by air wing to hospital.
Colonel Jamal Al Ameri, head of public relations at the Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrols Directorate, urged drivers to drive at reduced speeds in order to avoid collision and leave enough distance between vehicles.
Drivers unable to see ahead must wait on the hard shoulder, Al Ameri advised. For their own safety, they must avoid waiting under trees and billboards and near construction sites, he added.
“Use warning lights if you must stop your car on the hard shoulder and keep the headlights on, even while driving during the day,” Al Ameri said.
In Dubai, meanwhile, some 135 cars were involved in accidents from 6am to 12 noon in Dubai due to bad weather conditions, according to Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of Dubai Traffic Police.
There were no deaths reported but only a few minor injuries, he said.
Most of the accidents took place on Shaikh Zayed Road and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Col Al Mazroui warned motorists to avoid highways until the weather gets clear.
“The sandstorm which hit the UAE on Thursday has led to poor visibility across the country. Motorists should be extra cautious when driving in this weather. We advise them to keep [safe] distance between their car and the vehicle in front of them, to drive slowly and keep their car lights on all the time,” said Col Al Mazroui.
In Sharjah, 82 accidents were recorded on Thursday by mid afternoon, most of which, were minor or moderate.
Two people were injured when their car overturned on Maleiha Road at around 8.30am due to sandstorm and they were transferred to Al Kuwaiti hospital.
Sharjah Police launched an awareness campaign titled “ Be careful of the weather changes risk” on Thursday which aimed to educate motorists what to do in case of weather changes.
Colonel Shawaf Mohammad Abdul Rahman, Director General of the Traffic and Patrols department in the General Directorate of Sharjah Police said: “These conditions can be dangerous for drivers. Motorists should leave enough space between other cars on the road and reduce speeds.”
Motorists were also advised to turn on headlights to increase visibility and pay attention while changing lanes.
No accidents blamed on weather were reported at the time of going to press in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah