15-car collision: How to drive in fog?

Accident on the Abu Dhabi – Dubai road towards Al Samha, on Monday morning. (Supplied)

A citizen sustained minor injuries following a 15-car pile-up accident on the Abu Dhabi – Dubai road towards Al Samha, Monday morning.

The injured citizen was treated at the scene of the accident, which resulted from low horizontal visibility due to fog in various areas of the road.

Colonel Mohammed Ahmed Saif Al Mazroui, Head of the Peripheral Regions Traffic Department at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate in Abu Dhabi Police, explained that upon receiving reports of the accident, the Operation Room immediately dispatched traffic patrols.

The traffic patrols implemented the emergency plan for foggy conditions by controlling the flow of traffic on location, and by clearing the road of damaged vehicles in order to avoid further incidents involving one or more cars.

Colonel Al Mazroui noted that the Directorate has implemented a contingency plan during fog to prevent trucks and heavy vehicles from entering Abu Dhabi from the truck motorways during peak hours until visibility clears.

Colonel Al Mazroui called upon drivers to pay attention over the coming days and to watch for changes in weather conditions that may cause the formation of fog and low visibility.

He said: “You should double the safety distance that you usually leave between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you in order to allow more time stop, as the driving conditions affect your ability to stop as quickly as you would be able to under normal conditions.”

Colonel Al Mazroui encouraged transportation companies to strengthen their drivers’ traffic culture and to encourage them to abide by traffic regulations in foggy conditions.

He also called upon companies to cancel transportation if visibility was too low.

He also noted that the Directorate will address drivers, especially external roads users, with awareness messages in collaboration with the Security Media Department at the General Secretariat of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

The messages will be broadcasted on all social media to encourage drivers to reduce speed and to drive safely in fog.

How to drive in fog

As a part of the Security Media Department initiative, Lt. Colonel Ali Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief of the Strategy and Performance Development Section at the Traffic Coordination Directorate General, Ministry of Interior, urged motorists to:

- Drive at appropriate speeds that are suitable for the surrounding conditions.

- Gradually reduce the speed of their vehicles when needing to slow down, drive with caution, and to use the low-lights of the vehicle’s headlights.

- Not using the high-beam lights of the vehicles while driving in fog, as the intensity of the light causes the lights to reflect off of the water droplets, which makes visibility even lower.

In the event of low-visibility driving conditions, Lt. Colonel Al Shehhi called upon drivers to listen to the weather forecast and traffic-related news.

He also urged them to abide by the following:

- Ensure that the lighting system of the vehicle is fully functional before driving; use low-lights instead of the high-beams to avoid making visibility worse from the light’s reflection off of the water droplets in the air

- If fog lights are available, use them in conjunction with the low-lights

- Be patient and don’t try to overtake or change lanes

- Abide by the designated lines and stay within the borders of the road, drive in the outside lanes and use the markings for the border of the road to guide you instead of the lane lines found in the middle of the road

- Leave double the amount of the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to provide more time to stop

- Be observant by watching and listening carefully, be prepared for any accidents that may lie ahead of you

- Reduce anything that may distract you while you are inside your vehicle, such as mobile phones or other items

- Listen carefully and follow any warnings; keep your eyes focused on the road ahead of you

- Ensure that the windows and mirrors of the vehicles are clean, and use the wipers to increase visibility

- If the fog becomes too dense and it is not possible to continue driving, park on the outside of the road, away from traffic, and turn on the hazard lights.

Radio and social media

Over the course of the morning, the Radio Branch at the Security Media Department contacted seven radio stations, and contacted an additional two stations in the evening.

Awareness messages were also broadcasted over the radio to drivers through the following stations: Quran Kareem, Emarat FM, Sharjah Radio, and Radio 1.

The Radio Branch also sent guidance messages via text to all radio stations in the UAE, including both Arabic and foreign stations, regarding the formation of fog.

Alia Al Rumaithi, the Radio Branch Manager at the Security Media Department, said that the instructions are automatically broadcasted via radio stations in case of the fog, which allows direct communication with the road users, and delivers the necessary guidelines to motorists who are driving in such conditions.

She explained that the awareness phrases provide guidance for motorists regarding what to do when driving in foggy conditions.

The Social Media Centre at the Security Media urged drivers through Twitter and Instagram to take caution and to reduce speeds while driving in fog to ensure their safety.

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