Could now be the time for UAE summer speed limits?

Traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Anyone familiar with the Abu Dhabi to Dubai commute along Sheikh Zayed road will be used to the sight of burst tyres by the roadside. According to police figures, faulty tyres caused 28 avoidable accidents and 14 deaths on the capital’s roads in just one year. Road safety experts say damaged tyres are responsible for as many as five per cent of accidents in the UAE. This issue only worsens in the summer months, when wear and tear is accelerated by temperatures soaring as high as 50°C. It requires drivers to take extra precautions and check the state of their tyres more frequently than usual to ensure the safety of all road users.

Good customer service in the UAE means the tread and condition can be checked for free in almost any petrol station, where tyres can also be inflated by helpful attendants. For anyone who has undergone the horror of an exploding tyre, the experience can be unnerving, leading to uncontrollable steering and the risk of smashing your vehicle or endangering other drivers. Add to that a hot, lengthy wait for roadside assistance and a few extra minutes of precautionary measures are a small price to pay.

Europe is currently experiencing a heatwave, with temperatures rising above 40°C. Although rare in the West, it is a reality of daily life in the UAE. In Germany, authorities have imposed speed restrictions on sections of its high-speed motorways this week amid fears cracks on the road surface could be fatal. This is a smart move. Extreme heat does funny things to roads, cars and people. A well-mapped network of roads is one of the luxuries of living in the UAE but speed cannot come at the expense of safety. Which raises the interesting question: is it now time to consider summer speed limits across the emirates?

Published: June 27, 2019 07:47 PM