The Holy month of Ramadan is upon us and it is an important time here in the UAE, which is predominantly Muslim. It is a time for sober reflections, piety and of course, fasting. However, fasting has a number of side effects which could result in unsafe conditions on the road during Ramadan. According to the several reports, the Holy month is associated with increased number of road accidents and fatalities, and here are the reasons why:
- Road fatigue during Iftar traffic rush: there is usually a lot of traffic at this time and drivers are usually tired and fatigued while rushing around for their iftar appointments, and this can cause their attentions to falter.
- Fasting: fasting results in dehydration or low blood sugar which can cause driver attention and concentration to be low, resulting in poor road decisions.
- Personal body fatigue: the irregular sleep patterns and eating habits that result during the Ramadan month can result in dizziness on the part of even experienced drivers.
What do you do?
- Drive defensively: you have to assume that all other drivers may be fatigued or have their abilities affected.
- Try and avoid the pre-Iftar traffic rush.
- Do not fast beyond your capacity; be aware of your limits.
- Get enough sleep and enough food when you can.
- Ensure your vehicle is in top condition before the month begins so you would have no reason to be exasperated during your fasting.
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In support of the new laws in the UAE, Dial-A-Battery, initiated an edutaining program ‘Hop in and buckle-up’ supported by RTA in some of the leading schools in Dubai like Kings’ School, Regent International School and Dubai British School. The main reason behind educating kids was to ensure that the next generation is responsible and owing to the safety habits inculcated in them in their early years.
At present only those in the front seats of a vehicle are required to buckle up. However, under the new laws drivers will be fined Dhs.400 and receive four black points on their license for failing to ensure that both driver and passengers are buckled up. This will keep UAE traffic laws in line with many other developed countries where all passengers in a vehicle are required to wear seat belts. A road safety consultant at the Transport Research Authority has remarked that there is a 40 to 60 percent chance of surviving a car crash if all passengers wore seat belts.
Mr. Asad Badami, Managing Director of Dial-A-Battery, said, “Wearing a seatbelt doesn’t cost you anything, but not wearing one can cost your life.”
“As an organization operating in the automobile sector, we feel responsible towards creating awareness about road safety amongst children, drivers, parents, and people at large. As a part of the community we support the measures undertaken by the traffic department to make seatbelts compulsory for all passengers,” Asad added.
Hop in and Buckle up is a part of an ongoing initiative by Dial-A-Battery that coincides with the new laws in the UAE which makes wearing seat belts compulsory for both drivers and passengers both in the front and at the back. Moreover, RTA has been continuously keeping safety first in all their road transport activities and decisions, be it dedicated school bus laws, consistent creation of footbridges, better driver training and awareness campaigns.