Commuting on a daily basis onEmirates Road(E 311) you will witness debris and shard of blown tires on the road. It is common to see large Lorries to blow up tires often as they slow down and reach to right service lane & every week you will witness at least 1 accident of varying degrees of devastation.
During weekends the situation is calmer with less traffic density & less stress. The bottlenecks on that highway start somewhere between Mirdiff City Centre all the way to Ajman where there is a sudden slowdown of traffic speed.
Police Patrol and Speed Cameras have tripled on emirates road along with Stricter Traffic Laws in the past few years. Reckless driving did considerably decrease compared to a couple of years ago, statistics by authorities claim an 18% decrease in fatalities in late 2010.
Still, the roads are quite dangerous and accidents are happening. The roads are not to blame, its the the driving manners in the UAE, which is hilarious at sometimes; tailgating is very common especially on the fast lane, lack of lane discipline, speeding, dangerously slowing down, sudden maneuvers without warning or signaling. Some people claim ‘that driving on the roads of the UAE is like a slow way to die, the stress and rage will eventually kill you’.
Also according to an article, November last year, from Emirates 24/7 the Bypass Road (E 611) has taken the lead in accidents and fatalities:
The Dubai Bypass Road is now the emirate’s most dangerous – taking over from Emirates Road in terms of the number of car accidents and number of fatalities for the first 10 months of this year.
According to statistics released by the Dubai Traffic Police to this website, on the Dubai Bypass Road, 11 traffic accidents have occurred this year that resulted in the deaths of 13 people.
Emirates Road, which last year had the highest number of casualties, witnessed nine accidents with nine deaths.
Of the 13 deaths on Bypass road, six were drivers, six passengers, and one a pedestrian.
Last year, Dubai Bypass Road witnessed, in the first ten months, four accidents, which resulted in 8 deaths.
The Dubai-Al Ain Road has seen six accidents which led to six deaths this year so far.
On the other hand Sheikh Zayed Road witnessed five fatal accidents and Al Khail Road four.
According to the statistics 70 per cent of the accidents happened in the day and 30 per cent at night.
It seems the right steps are have started to be taken now, with a decision to train new drivers on highways, according to the latest article by Gulf News:
Training to drive on the highway for a minimum of two hours has been made mandatory to obtain a driving licence in Dubai, officials announced yesterday.
“After passing the road test, drivers will now have to undergo driving lessons along the highway, with trainers beside them, before they are issued a driver’s licence,” said Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, CEO of the Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) Licensing Agency.
“This will ascertain the drivers’ ability to cope with the vehicle as well as other vehicles on the road.”
He was speaking at the launch of the unified curriculum for all driving institutes in Dubai.
The unified curriculum for training and qualifying those wishing to obtain driving licences for light motor vehicles has been distributed to all institutes and has been put into effect since the start of this year, he said.
Training on the highway is just one of the changes the new curriculum will introduce. Other significant changes include mandatory night driving lessons and lessons on sudden braking in case of emergency situations.
“It is a complete training package, which takes the learner from attitude development and road safety awareness to vehicle familiarisation, from driving in simple to complex road networks to night driving until finally to freeway driving.”
At present, every driving school has its own curriculum. “They all cover the major skills but by unifying we have put a structure around the training process and based on this the schools can come up with improvements,” Behroozian said.
The new curriculum — delivered in Arabic, English and Urdu — has two components. The theoretical component comprises eight basic lectures and videos — including road rules, attitude and accident case studies — which are mandatory for trainees to attend as they cover safety standards and groom them to become able drivers, he said. The practical component comprises five basic stages including emergency braking, parking exercises, night driving and highway driving.
No additional costs
The number of mandatory lessons will still continue to be 40 lessons. This way the curriculum will not mean any additional costs for the trainees, Behroozian said, adding that the drivers will benefit from better training at the same cost.
The curriculum will follow a systematic progressive teaching method, whereby trainees will have to demonstrate their proficiency before being allowed to progress to the next step.
Three specific areas along the highway have been identified by RTA for training drivers, Hussain Al Saffar, Director of Drivers Training and Qualification department at the RTA, told Gulf News.
The road connecting the Business Bay crossing to Al Hadiqa Road, Emirates Road from near the Sharjah boundary up to Al Aweer Interchange and Al Aweer road leading towards Hatta are the areas identified.
“While driving along the highway, trainees will not be assessed because they would already have passed the road test. But the training is a means of managing risk on the highways,” he said.
Asked if the new curriculum will make it easier or harder for aspiring drivers, Sultan Al Marzouqi, Director of the Drivers Licensing department, said that the RTA’s focus is on allowing only safe drivers on the roads.
“The pass rate at driving tests has more than doubled recently, going from 17 per cent on average between 2008 and 2010 to 30 per cent in 2011. Accidents and deaths have also come down. This means drivers are being trained better,” he said.
The UAE is still growing and the numbers of vehicles on the road have increased immensely along with the number of highways to compensate for the traffic. Training methods do need to evolve & cover a whole larger set of topics such as dealing with emergencies, driving in rain & fog is something many of the drivers trained in the UAE are not really aware of. It’s not a common scene to have a training car on the highways, now things should be changing and hopefully this positive change will be constant.
Nobody will forget the “Fog Tuesday” 200 car pile up, in 2008. It definitely provoked authorities to apply the major changes in law & traffic that we saw in the past 3 years.