posted on 11/10/2012: 673 views
Heavy fog that blanketed the country early on Wednesday is set to return, bringing with it more traffic chaos.
Vehicles were brought to a standstill on Wednesday as fog made driving conditions treacherous.
Rush-hour commuters faced huge tailbacks as visibility was reduced to less than 100 metres in some areas.
In Abu Dhabi, the difficult conditions caused crashes involving 16 vehicles on one stretch of road. The vehicles were involved in accidents on Al Rahba road.
Among the crashes, a bus loaded with workers collided with a car on Al Ajban bridge near Al Rahba, injuring 50 people.
"Most of the injuries are minor, as 17 of those involved were treated on-site while 33 others were taken to Al Rahba Hospital to be examined,” Lieutenant Colonel Jamal Al Ameri, head of Public Relations at the Directorate of Traffic and Patrols, told Gulf News.
Speaking to Gulf News, Um Khalid, an Emirati mother of four, said that she witnessed another accident on the same road near Al Rahba Hospital.
"Police, ambulance and road safety trucks filled the Dubai-Abu Dhabi road. I was taking my daughter to school when I saw this because I knew it was foggy and did not want to take the chance of letting her get in her school bus,” the 43-year-old said.
Abu Dhabi Police advised drivers to refrain from using hazard lights while driving in the fog and to keep fog lights on and maintain a safe distance.
"We are launching a safety plan to help motorists during fog hours. We will increase the number of patrol cars on both inner city and external roads, and we will be preventing heavy vehicles and trucks from travelling on both roads,” said Colonel Hamad Nasser Al Beloushi, director of the Traffic and Roads Section at Abu Dhabi's Traffic and Patrols department.
Sharjah Police urged motorists to use fog lights instead of hazard lights.
Furthermore, regular traffic updates and safety guidelines will also be announced on various radio stations.
Elsewhere, commuters between Sharjah and Dubai reported 90-minute delays on their way to work.
Dubai Police warned drivers to be careful in heavy fog, saying that in the early hours of the morning 141 traffic accidents took place across the emirate. No serious injuries were reported.
The Dubai Police control room received 1,323 calls from the public during the foggy hours yesterday morning.
Police said the main reason for accidents was drivers not slowing down when they encountered fog.
A Dubai Police official said: "We are warning drivers in the next few days to expect fog at any time. It is the biggest danger on the roads.”
The number of highway patrols has been increased since the start of the fog season, and equipment was standing by to move damaged vehicles off roads quickly.
Early birds hoping to beat the morning rush hour by leaving home at 5.30am found themselves stuck on Al Wahda Road and Ittihad Road in Sharjah.
On radio, people were calling in saying ‘don't leave home if you're in Sharjah'. Drivers were reported to be going at half the normal speed on Sheikh Zayed Road.
On Airport Road in Sharjah (officially Dhaid Road), an Indian school teacher said she had to keep to under 30km/h because "you couldn't see anything”.
The teacher, in her 20s, added: "The fog was intense, scary. People had stopped and pulled over on the side of the road.”
Similarly, a van driver told Gulf News that fog was dense on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway causing vehicles to inch their way forward.
"Fog had covered everything and it was extremely difficult to drive at around 5am as the road and the pavements were barely visible,” Mustafa Khan said.
Lt Colonel Shuaib Kajour, director of Ajman's traffic police, told Gulf News Ajman recorded 14 accidents due to fog which resulted in one minor injury.
Major Saeed Obaid Bin Aran, director of the traffic department at Umm Al Qaiwain police. told Gulf News traffic flow was smooth and only two minor accidents were recorded in the emirate. Police in Fujairah reported no heavy fog, clear conditions and normal traffic flow.
With the changing weather affecting the traffic situation in the country significantly the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has urged people to be doubly cautious in order to avoid accidents.
"Driving during these conditions requires certain precautions to be taken to avoid accidents, the probability of which multiplies by the impact of these changes,” said a senior official at the Traffic Awareness section of the Traffic and Roads Agency at RTA.
The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) said foggy mornings are expected to continue throughout the coming few weeks as the UAE transitions to the autumn season and temperatures dip.
According to the NCMS, motorists are urged to stay cautious on the roads between midnight and 8am, when the fog is usually heaviest. – Gulf News
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