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Mon 17 Mar 2008 03:07 AM

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Police consider highway closure

Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway could close during heavy fog to prevent future accidents, officials say.

The Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway could in future be closed during periods of heavy fog to prevent accidents, following a horrific 200-car pile-up last week in which three people died, police said on Sunday.

“If there is heavy fog, then for safety reasons we may close the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway," Director of Traffic and Patrols Hamad Adeel Al-Shamsi said, quoted UAE daily Gulf News.

"Motorists will be informed and will be asked to take alternative routes to their destination."

He did not say how motorists would be informed of potential closures or what alternatives routes they could take.

Three people died and 347 were injured last Tuesday in the UAE’s worst ever road accident.

The string of pile-ups on the Abu Dhabi to Dubai highway was caused by speeding and thick fog.

The tragedy sparked calls for a major road safety campaign and guidelines on how to drive in poor conditions.

The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology warned Sunday that heavy fog Monday morning could reduce visibility in the northern and eastern emirates, with duststorms forecast for western areas.

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Richard 12 years ago

I come from a country where fog is a regular occurence. There are still serious accidents on motorways, however, motorists are aware of the dangers and generally take the following precautions; they slow down and they leave a gap between themselves and the car in front. Until drivers inthe UAE do the same, carnage in fog will never be stopped. I'm afraid moving traffic onto smaller roads will not help.

Lou 12 years ago

Instead of closing the road, this is just unpractical and would cause further traffic chaos, just because people would take different routes does not mean these routes would not be effected by the same fog and people would not speed. Why not try putting in preventative measures that warn/restrict motorists of the dangers and implementing reduced speed limits. An increase in police presence on the road would also be a deterrent. This is the time for a traffic/road safety awareness press campaign...highlighting the issues of dangerous driving and the outcomes...using graphic (hard-line) videos/images to illustrate the scenarios - a no-holds-bar approach. At the same time 'seat belt' awareness and not having your children in the front seat sitting on your lap whilst you are driving or while your adult passengers are in the car. How quickly can you say 'the fastest way to injure your child in an accident' !! This absolutely infuriated me when I first moved to Dubai, even if you slam on the breaks a little too fast the adult will be thrown forward and the child crushed under the force of the adult - hitting the dashboard and hitting thier head/face/body. This will hurt. So how about including how to harness your child safely! You taking the right precautions could save thier life.

Kate 12 years ago

Fog has been a factor of life in areas of UAE for a very long time. What needs to be controlled are the drivers who think they can still drive at top speeds when they do not have good forward vision. Nothing is to blame for the tragic accident except extreme bad driving and a lack of consideration for fellow human beings.

Nigel 12 years ago

Closing the road will only cause people to try alternative routes also affected by the weather and drive even faster because they now have further to travel. Fog is common in the UAE and should not be a surprise; slowing down and taking steps to raise your own visibility are fundamental. It is this latter point I would like to address - why are rear fog lights not compulsory on all cars? The radio stations constantly (correctly) warn drivers not to use hazard lights in fog but at least those drivers are trying to warn others of their presence.

One disgusted resident of khaleej 12 years ago

is this some sort of joke or an act of racism ? i cant believe my eyes when he said "“To my knowledge, there is no nation that allows an invasion of foreign languages in government institutions the way we did in the UAE. The move will correct the imbalance,” Al-Kitbi was quoted as saying." Do this person really think that everyone who steps in the land will know arabic fluently enough to talk in a government office and go through needed procedures for simple things like health care and id cards etc. Im disgraced as a muslim to read such coming from another muslims mouth..."invasion"..is this person talking about some world war that we are yet to hear of ? Next thing we will hear of all expats being removed from khaleej because they cant talk good enough arabic....this is the height of racism and rudeness. Now i ask myself what will my kids do in the future, me being british and my husband being omani..will they be punished for speaking english in government offices and wearing islamic dress?? English is an offical language for millions of business men and women world wide, even in 3rd world countries like thailand they talk english when doing business. The day Baba Zayed Rahim Allah died was the day things changed around here. May there be someone like Baba Zayed who will bring the nations together in peace without racism and rudeness where all can enjoy and be respected regardless of their first language or being a mawatan (national) of the country of not.

Mukund 12 years ago

Not practical at all. Closing the major linking road will cause congestion everywhere. Bad weather and poor visibility are quite common in many countries. It's driving safety and sensible thinking that's going to work. Your life or your job - it's your choice..careless driver. It's time people wake up , it's so appalling that there is absolutely no concern for safety. The RTA and authorities concerned must consider road safety monitoring, install automatic sensors to detect such conditions & High power fog lights which can be switched on automatically. Aerial survey and traffic movement monitoring must be pressed into service under such conditions. SMS messages must be sent out by service providers, using GPRS, whereby all cell phones active on the highway will receive safety messages. There are many good practical uses of technology which can save lives. Hope for the best.