“Driving is an education.” This is how Major Muhsen Saeed Saleh Al Mansouri, Head of Al Ain Traffic and Patrol Section, began his explanation on driving safety. “If you are an educated person, you will respect people on the streets,” he continued. We were interviewing the Major to get important safe-driving tips that every driver should consider:
“Following the rules, considering the other person on the street (both pedestrians and drivers), and to always remember that driving is a way of treating people. Even I should respect the law and make sure people are safe.”
What are the main reasons behind car accidents?
“There are five main reasons. The strongest reason is speed, then comes using the phone (chat online/ talk), not fastening your seatbelt, not giving pedestrians their right on the street and last but not least, making the wrong turns. I would like to mainly focus on speed. People always use the excuse, I’m late for work, school, etc., and this all comes down to one point: time management. If you manage your time and leave early, there will be no reason to worry if you’re going to make it on time or not, and end up speeding.”
How can seatbelts play a role in safe-driving?
“I worked as a detective in the accidents section for 10 years. One of the main reasons people had major injuries was neglecting the importance of wearing a seatbelt. Seatbelts are not used to prevent accidents but to reduce the injuries. Sadly, a lot of people don’t realize the importance of wearing seatbelts until they get into a car accident. People should be aware that the seatbelt is a part of a safety system which should not be underestimated.”
People sometimes neglect the importance of child safety seats, what would you like to say about them?
“A child safety seat is extremely important and everyone should be conscious about it. Kids from 1 to 6 years old are the most affected by accidents; they have light bodies so they will be thrown forward right away. People should take this seriously. Families with lots of kids should make sure that all kids from 1 to 6 years are using child safety seats. It is important to educate your kids about this, so they can grow up with it, follow all safe-driving and safe-seating rules and pass it on to the next generation.”
Al Ain city has lots of roundabouts, do they reduce car accidents?
“Roundabouts are used to ease the flow when traffic density is low and it has nothing to do with reducing car accidents. Roundabouts are an old system, which was used in Al Ain when it had less population just to ease the flow. Now the population is increasing, that’s why we’re focusing on high traffic areas to change from roundabouts to signal lights system since they help better in traffic management and reduce the chances of car accidents.”
What is the safest way to approach a roundabout?
“Signs are everywhere, whether painted on the street or just a guidance board. These signs must be read and followed to avoid accidents that occur due to making the wrong turns when going through the roundabout.”
What is the main reason behind the sudden increase in radars in Al Ain?
“As I mentioned earlier, speed is the main cause for accidents, so radars are the best approach to control the speed on streets. Gladly, this approach helped in reducing accidents and mainly the number of deaths caused by accidents. Radars are installed based on studies such as the speed on the street, traffic density, traffic jam, etc. Of course radar is not the only approach; we’re making studies trying to find engineered solutions for streets with high traffic or a high number of accidents.”
Any campaigns to educate people more about safe-driving?
“We carry out a lot of campaigns every once in a while. Our latest campaign, “Together to Reduce Traffic Accidents,” relies on the social media to help in spreading the awareness among people. We hope the society and all media means will realize the importance of this campaign, support us and work with us on this one.”
Reckless driving has become a phenomenon among young people on the road, what are the dangers of this kind of driving?
“Reckless driving is one of the main causes to accidents that result in many deaths and severe injuries, as the accidents associated with this kind of driving have the least possibility of survival of the driver, passengers and road users, because the driver is not in control of the vehicle as required.
We believe that the reason behind driving the vehicle recklessly is the misconception among young people that the vehicle is a way of Entertainment, rather than a way to facilitate transportation and life. This makes young people seem to be playing a dangerous game that may destroy their lives and the lives of road users. The key role in reducing this is up to the parents who have the duty to watch their children, guide them and keep them aware.
Examples of driving recklessly:
Racing, which is one of the most dangerous acts as it is accompanied with high speed. And the showing off as it represents the young people’s driving maneuvers which happens in front of the crowd to draw attention.
To reduce this phenomenon parents should watch over their kids, and educational institutions and institutions of civil society should cooperate in raising the level of driving education. The role of the traffic and patrol police lies in controlling the roads and to prevent drivers from driving recklessly who risk their lives and the lives of others in the sake of entertainment.
What’s your advice to Al Ain drivers who are reading this now?
“Please follow the rules, signs, take seatbelts and child safety seats seriously, respect pedestrians and other drivers, and always remember: driving reflects your personality.”