UAE road safety experts tell motorists not to ‘misbehave’ on roads during Ramadan

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Motorists in the United Arab Emirates have been urged to take extra cautions on the country’s roads during Ramadan – typically a month which sees a spike of accidents due to fatigue, a change in sleep patterns and a pre-Iftar rush.

Thomas Edelmann, managing director at Road Safety UAE, said that the holy month often brings a surge in dangerous driving habits leading to a rise in traffic accidents.

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“During the holy month of Ramadan, it is sad to witness hundreds of accidents and dozens of fatalities every year,” he said. “Ramadan is a very special time, and it is all about being with the ones close to you, which creates a lot of traffic. This festive time also brings unique challenges for all traffic participants.”

Road Safety UAE has conducted Ramadan accident surveys over the years, based on more than 6,000 auto-insurance claims data and found older motorists (40+) and male motorists are more likely to be involved in a crash.

Peak accident timings are around pre-Iftar and the morning rush hour from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesdays are the most dangerous days, while Sundays are the least dangerous, the study found.

“The Ramadan specific lifestyle has physical effects on our body, which can result in dehydration and low blood sugar, which in turn can affect our attentiveness, concentration, vision, and reaction,” said Edelmann. “In addition to fasting, the often unusual and irregular meal timings and sleep patterns can cause fatigue, exhaustion, impatience, and distraction, which is reflected in early morning accident peaks.”

“Just before sunset is also a problematic time to be on the roads, because motorists tend to rush towards their Iftar appointments.”

This pre-iftar rush hour is a “mix of psychological urges and physical needs and motorists might use this as an excuse to misbehave on the roads,” Edelmann said. “Hence, all traffic participants (motorists, pedestrians, motorcycle riders, bicyclists, etc.) must be extra careful in this time, too.”

Edelmann said drivers should be aware of key driving precautions. “Be aware of your own limitations, watch out for other traffic participants potentially under the same limitations, ‘expect the unexpected’ and ‘drive defensively’,” he said.

“Plan your schedule properly and leave early to avoid the need of rushing and speeding and always wear your seat belt – Ramadan is a good time to start this habit.”

“Motorists must realize, that even if they arrive late for a Ramadan event, people will understand. Good time management is crucial, and motorists are urged to leave early enough and allow for a time buffer to reach their destination on time. We need to display a caring attitude for ourselves and for others in this very special period.”

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