By Staff writer
New survey says driving behaviour in the UAE remains stubbornly poor despite significant investments in road infrastructure
Driving behaviour in the UAE remains stubbornly poor despite significant investments and improvements in road infrastructure, according to a new survey.
The inaugural Zurich RoadSafetyUAE Driving Dashboard, commissioned by global insurer Zurich and RoadSafetyUAE.com, is the first ongoing study to quantify perceptions of driving in the UAE.
Respondents lauded the efforts of UAE government institutions to build new roads, bridges and access roads, with 68 percent reporting that road infrastructure has improved in the last six months.
However 53 percent also said they believe the UAE's roads have become more dangerous over the same period, compared with 26 percent who said they have become safer.
The findings were particularly pronounced in Sharjah where 61 percent of respondents perceive driving has become more risky.
The survey said 65 percent of respondents say they have seen more speeding vehicles on the roads, a figure that was broadly consistent across the emirates.
Tailgating is also believed to be on the rise with 65 percent seeing more of this behaviour, as is the prevalence of distracted drivers with 75 percent reporting seeing an increase in the last six months.
Thomas Edelmann, founder of RoadSafetyUAE.com, said: "Despite comprehensive efforts to enhance and improve our roads, the irresponsible behaviour of significant numbers of motorists remains a stubborn challenge.
"Speeding, tailgating and distracted driving are all killers and yet all are entirely preventable. The UAE authorities are doing their part to make our roads safer and more efficient, it is now the turn of the country's drivers to fulfil their end of the bargain."
The survey also showed that one in five drivers reported being in a vehicle collision in the last six months, with males (22 percent) significantly more likely than females (16 percent) to have been in a crash.
It said that drivers in their mid-to-late 20s were the most likely to have had a collision (26 percent), followed by those aged over 40 (20 percent) and younger drivers aged 18-24 (20 percent).
Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of respondents reported their commute is taking longer than six months ago, with commuters in Sharjah (73 percent) and Dubai (66 percent) most likely to have experienced an increase in their commute time, compared with 57 percent in Abu Dhabi.
More than a quarter (27 percent) of drivers surveyed received a speeding or traffic violation fine in the last six months, with men (28 percent) more likely than women (20 percent) to have been ticketed. Drivers in their mid-to-late 20s were the most likely transgressors (32 percent).
The survey is based on the views of more than 1,000 UAE residents about five key checkpoints - safety, collisions, traffic, fines and enjoyment.
Brian Reilly, CEO of Zurich Insurance Middle East, said: "There are plenty of opinions about the experience of driving in the UAE but little in the way of hard facts. This ongoing biannual study will generate data and insights to encourage a culture of safe and responsible motoring, while supporting the goal of UAE Vision 2021 to catapult the Emirates into the world's top five safest countries to drive."
The Zurich RoadSafetyUAE Driving Dashboard will be repeated every six months with the next scheduled for release in the final quarter of 2015.
There needs to be a visible police presence on the road, discouraging the aforementioned practices. One only needs to look at the Enoc station on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road
beside JVT in the mornings. There is a "lane" of traffic that snakes through the petrol station as drivers jockey for 1 position ahead of the next person. As long as these behaviors are allowed to continue, nothing will change.
The problem is that there are many Nationalities who drive on UAE roads that have bad driving manners or rather lack good driving manners or civic sense. This needs a mass media campaign in different languages to inculcate these manners and sense in all drivers.
We see expensive cars being driven with very poor driving sense and total disregard for good manners. Besides tail gating it is very common to see drivers not using indicators while changing lanes. Perhaps they think that this will increase their electricity bill??
We see mini vans & Busses loaded with people driving like crazy in fast lanes with total disregard of rules, which puts so many lives of their passengers in danger. We see pick up's and other such vehicles in fast lanes. These should not be allowed to drive in fast lanes on highways like Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, Al Khail Road, Sh Zayed Roadl!
The problem is a general lack of awareness, courtesy and lane discipline. Nothing more.
It won't change. It's a battlefield out there and to survive on the roads here you have to identify the morons and stay clear of them, they are usually easy to spot, swerving all over lanes, speeding, driving to slowly, pulling out without looking, not indicating, leaning into their driver window talking on the phone, kids jumping up and down, kids on laps in the driver/passenger seats....list goes on. Natural selection, just make sure your not to close to be included in that selection.....