As we head to the Eid holidays, I would like to remind – myself first and all other road users – about the need to take extra care on the roads as tired and hungry drivers increase the risk of crashes during Ramadan. In the next two days, we are also likely to witness rush on the roads as people hurry to shop for Eid before the closure of commercial activities starting May 8.
The annual problem of traffic accidents caused by motorists rushing home to break fast or shop for Eid has prompted me to dedicate this space to make people alert.
Please keep a note of the time of iftar and make sure you finish your work much before Maghrib prayers. And if you are late, there is no need to rush on the road. It is better to reach your destination late than never.
According to health experts who I spoke with earlier, there are more accidents during this period. They call for speed management and advise people to drive slow and not be in a rush while fasting.
During my many years of driving, I have noticed that people tend to be tired and still want to drive fast during Ramadan. There is need to plan our journey so that we reach home safely. Even if it is already time for iftar, we need to slow down.
Experts have been asking motorists to realise that when they are late for any Ramadan or Eid related activity, people waiting for them understand the situation. But to avoid disappointment to near and dear ones, time management is important. To this end, motorists are urged to leave early and allow enough time to reach their destination.
In Oman, like many other countries, authorities have made efforts to make roads safer by imposing strict penalities on offenders and enhancing driver training and road management, but there is still some way to go before we see road discipline. We as the public need to be more serious on that.
But the good news is that there has been a drop in accidents in the recent past. New laws have been introduced and the penalties are significant in ensuring safer roads for all in society.
Last evening, as I drove home after work, I had a close shave. I was almost hit by the car behind me as the rash driver rushed to reach home before iftar. Instead of him honking, I was the one honking as I feared for my life when I saw him speeding towards me in the rear view mirror.
Ramadan is usually a challenging time to remain safe on the road, more so when it falls during the summer. I believe rash drivers need to be given lessons on road etiquette. I have seen that people lack basic courtesy towards others on the road. There is no need to rush for iftar at home. A brief stop anywhere by the side of the road to break fast can save a life.
Till next time, drive safe!