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Sun 23 Mar 2008 02:35 AM

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UAE eyes SMS storm warnings

Authorities consider text updates in bid to reduce accidents caused by severe weather conditions.

UAE residents could soon receive advance warning of adverse weather conditions by text message, an official said on Saturday.

Authorities are considering a range of options, including SMS, aimed at reducing the impact of bad weather on the public, although a decision has not yet been finalised, a source from the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) told UAE daily Gulf News.

“One of the objectives of the NCMS is to issue weather forecasts and early warnings to help people avoid any risks that might be associated with extraordinary weather phenomena such as cyclones, severe windstorms, heavy rain, fog or dust storms,” said NCMS Executive Director Abdullah Ahmad Al Mandoos.

The comment comes in the wake of the UAE’s worst ever road accident involving some 200 vehicles, caused by speeding and fog.

Authorities are keen to warn motorists of possible adverse conditions as early as possible to prevent a repeat of the incident, in which three people died and 347 were injured.

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Ian 12 years ago

The only way to help avoid accidents like these is to educate the drivers. A vast majority or license holders have no common sense at all and do not drive to the conditions etc. They drive at excessive speeds in close proximity to the car in front and do not use indicators, mirrors or manners. Until the tests are made drastically more stringent the UAE will continue to see huge numbers of accidents. Any expat will tell you the UAE and Saudi drivers and roads are the most unsafe in the world. If the text service is introduced and another accident happens then they will simply blame not receiving a text about the bad weather. Any driver can see the conditions around them and a safe driver will alter their driving to suit, the problem is that the most drivers over here do not fall into that category.

Mukund 12 years ago

Point taken Ian. Indeed it is the driver etiquette. But all said and done, it ultimately the mindset. Despite education, it's the willingness to change. It's very hard to break this habit of over-speeding and trying to beat the signal. Surely SMS and cb/fm radio, can do a good job, by warning drivers not to take the troubled route, maybe change their timings and even prevent congestion. Well If the SMS went unheeded, you know it. I think, there must be many players in this, RTA, NCMS, the Insurance cos, and also the corporates, employers themselves. Good to note that a lot of focus has come on this now. Let's hope for the best.

Mukund 12 years ago

We all know it, swear by it, but seldom practice. So just to keep it fresh in our mind. Here goes: Ethics: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?" If ever the drivers remember this, then there would be fewer accidents on our highways today. Manners: Everyone appreciates the good manners of a driver who signals turns, makes stops smoothly, and gradually pulls into the proper lane well before making a turn. This not only shows "good manners," but save lives of others. Considerate & Courteous: Are you Considerate of Others. Be the courteous, considerate and alert driver not the Fomula-1 kind. A good driver is alert, and knows about the local speed limits and the meanings of the signs. Others-Do not sneak through at the beginning or end of red lights. Always uses signals. Look before backing into or out of a parking space and park carefully. Of course dim headlights when another car approaches. Use the horn if other car fails to do likewise, don't be tempted to flash lights and blare. Speed thrills but Kills. Courtesy is most important to safe driving, and this attitude will save lives. A courteous driver always considers how actions will affect those behind, in front, and beside. Accidents-and insurance: Scratch the fender, sides or inflict minor damage to a parked car without its owner present,leave a note with name, phone number, and that of your insurance company. If the owner is present, then pass on insurance information politely and contact proper authorities right away without incident. Drinking & Driving: Life's pressures, but then, handover your keys, before your hand reaches the mug.Get a sober driver to deliver you home. Else its $5000 and the slammer..your choice. We have our lives to live and cherish. Save your's by saving that of others. God save us.