Writer: Bhoomika Ghaghada; Illustration: Sharanya Kunnath
You’re inching forward in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you drive by slowly next to an accident, and then the roads.. are clear. If you’ve driven in the U.A.E, you’re familiar with the situation. Road accidents are frequent, but they disrupt daily traffic because of rubbernecking. Rubbernecking is when people slow down next to the scene of the accident to take a look or even click a picture of the site. This backs traffic up, and voila, tons of people are late to work that morning.
Dubai Police has recognized that congestion caused by rubbernecking is causing delays in rescue vehicles reaching accident sites, which may lead to more accidents. They are trying to cut it off at the root, with an anti-rubbernecking campaign that runs till the end of this week.
Called ‘Avoid crowding – give way’ #NoCrowd #GiveWay, this campaign is aimed at creating awareness among drivers about the consequences of their actions. It isn’t about a 10-minute delay on the road, it’s about safety. The congestion keeps emergency vehicles like Police cars and Ambulances from arriving at the scene. Those few seconds you spent slowing down could mean endangering a life.
Colonel Jamal Al Bannai, Acting Director of Dubai Traffic Police spoke to Gulf News, saying “Some people are annoyed at those who slow down to look at accident sites, but when they reach the spot, they find themselves slowing down too to have a look. This is the reason why we need to make everyone aware [of this problem],”
Road etiquette, when observed well, like giving way, letting people transition from lane to lane, and keeping your cool in traffic, can go a long way in reducing the stress on the roads of the U.A.E. This well-timed campaign by Dubai Police is a good reminder:
#NoCrowd: Don’t slow down to look at accident sites.
#GiveWay: Always give way to emergency vehicles. Always.