Did you know that there are about 1.5 million registered cars on Dubai’s roads? And with increasing traffic congestion in Dubai, there are more unsafe drivers on our roads too. Even though many have a license to drive not all develop defensive driving skills and it just takes one wrong judgement and a split second to get into a serious accident.
But the new set of traffic rules and regulations introduced by the Road & Transport Authority (RTA) at the start of this year is expected to improve the traffic situation in the near future, by not only reducing traffic jams but also ensuring the safety of residents.
New highways and new route options
Traffic congestion has always been a hot topic of discussion among residents staying in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Early this year an announcement was made about the launch of six major road projects to help ease traffic problems in the UAE.
- Dubai – Abu Dhabi – Northern Emirates Link: A bridge on Emirates road connecting Sharjah to Dubai aimed to ease traffic congestion on this heavily used route. The commencement date is yet to be decided.
- Business Bay District: A huge project consisting of flyovers and a 3.5 km three-lane road to be constructed at the Business Bay District (Godolphin).
- Al Ittihad Bridge: The current floating bridge will be replaced by Al Ittihad Bridge which will be a 12 lane massive road. As construction begins, the floating bridge will be moved to Sheraton Gateway connecting Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Street in Bur Dubai and Omar Bon Al Khattab Road in Deira.
- Al Shindagah Bridge: The current Shindagah tunnel is a two-lane road which is most likely to be transformed into a bridge making it convenient for Sharjah – Dubai commuters, however it is yet to be officially confirmed.
- Jumeirah Street – Al Khail Link: A new flyover is going to come up on Latifa bint Hamdan Street crossing First Al Khail Road. This is aimed to ease the traffic from Latifa Bin Hamdan Street to Umm Al Sheif.
- Dubai – Abu Dhabi Link: An expansion of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road which is 62 km long is close to completion and is expected to start in 2016.
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Revised speed limits on Dubai’s major roads
To manage the flow of traffic on busy roads, new speed limits have been set up. The main goal behind this change is to make the commute safer for motorists, by reducing chances of road accidents.
- Dubai – Al Ain Road: Before it was 100 km now it’s set at 120 km.
- Umm Suqeim Road: Before it was 80 km now it’s set at 90 km.
- Al Sufouh Road: Before it was 80 km now it’s 60 km.
- Al Qudra Road: Before 80 km now it’s 90 km.
Taking a ‘selfie’ while driving will get you fined
Do you take selfies while driving? Well if you do, it’s a good time to stop. According to Dubai Police, any motorist caught taking selfies will receive a fine of AED 200 and four black points on their license. Taking selfies while behind the wheel has become an increasing cause of road accidents around the world. Sharjah Police has taken an initiative and launched campaigns such as ‘Taking a selfie can end your life’, ‘Selfies are a danger that you have to stop practicing’ and more, to spread awareness about the risks involved in using mobile devices while driving. Since taking a selfie is considered similar to using a mobile phone the fine for both is the same.
Keep your phone away when behind the wheel
Smartphones are everywhere and people glued to their phone screens has become a common sight all around the world. And the increasing use of smartphones while driving, has raised concerns about the safety of motorists on our roads. It is not just risky for the driver but others on the road as well. To tackle this issue, Dubai Police has made a recommendation to increase the penalty from AED 200 and four black points to AED 1,000 with 12 black points along with the confiscation of vehicles for 30 days.
Insurer liable to pay hospital costs
An announcement made by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai affirming that any driver involved in an accident which requires another person to be taken to the hospital will have to pay a fine. A statement from Dubai Media Office said: “Dubai Police and Dubai Corporation will charge a fee of AED 6,770 for emergency and evacuation services provided to each casualty in a traffic accident, which will be collected from the insurance provider of the party that caused the accident.”