The daily reality is that driving in Dubai is deadly, literally. The by-line for my blog says it all; "There's no such thing as a dangerous, high speed chase in Dubai - everyone drives like that." You may remember that I was knocked over by a car on a controlled pedestrian crossing a couple of weeks after I arrived in Dubai. I didn't drive here for the first six months because the roads were terrifying. I've gritted my teeth and got back behind the wheel and now "Madame" and I on the road every day. My theory is that due to outdated road signs, misleading road signs or complete lack of roadsigns, at any point in time, 50% of the drivers in Dubai are lost.
- The first thing you learn here is that indicators have not been fitted on 95% of cars in Dubai and are an optional extra on the other 5%.
- When you're in rush hour traffic probably already travelling over the speed limit and surrounded by other cars, a large 4x4 with blacked out windows comes up behind you, sits right on your tail, flashes the lights and stands on thee horn. From the driver's vantage point he can see there is a continuous line of traffic but he just keeps flashing his lights and getting even closer.
- It is the responsibility of the person who is changing lanes to ensure that there is a safe gap for them to move into. (After driving in Dubai for a while the concept seems strange.) Its not the job of the people in the other lanes to make room! How many times do people start changing lanes without checking (and of course no indicator) and they only stop when they hear a horn blaring as they almost hit another car.
- People who turn from the incorrect lane, and let's use as an example the numbat at DFC this morning. There were four lanes, two turning left (lanes 1 and 2), two lanes going straight ahead (3 and 4), I'm in the straight ahead lane 3, but when the lights go green the mental midget in lane 4 on my right hand side decides he wants to turns left cutting straight in front of me missing me by inches.
- People who slam on the anchors when they see a speed camera then roar off only to slam on the anchors at the next camera.
- Queue jumpers/push-inners; the Masters of the Universe who must get in line first. The guys who cruise down a line of waiting traffic looking for an "easy mark" to push in front of.
The WHO report referred to in the article is here.
===================================A new World Health Organisation (WHO) report has ranked roads in the UAE as some of the world's most dangerous.
Health chiefs have urged the UAE government to tighten motoring laws after the report showed that UAE road users are almost seven times more likely to be killed than those in Britain.
The study revealed that 37.1 people were killed on roads in the Emirates for every 100,000 people in 2007, the latest year for which UAE statistics are available, UAE daily The National reported on Tuesday.
Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director general, said the poor safety record of the Emirates “deserves our highest attention” and called on officials to take action, the paper added.
Pedestrians constituted 28 percent of casualties and motorbike riders and cyclists making up another two percent, the report said.
The report said 86 percent of the 1,754,420 vehicles registered in the UAE in 2007 were motor cars, with trucks (seven percent), minibuses and vans (two percent) and buses (two percent) making up most of the remainder.
The police recorded 1,056 fatal and 11,155 non-fatal accidents in the same year with men making up 87 per cent of casualties and women 13 per cent.
The UAE is the worst performer in the region, with significantly more road deaths per head of population than Bahrain (12.1 per 100,000), Kuwait (16.9), Oman (21.3), Qatar (23.7), Saudi Arabia (29).