What are the fines for breaking Abu Dhabi's lower 80kph speed limit during fog?

Police in the capital cut maximum speed on key roads during hazardous weather conditions

Drivers contend with Foggy conditions in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National
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Police in Abu Dhabi cut speed limits on a major road on Tuesday morning after thick fog enveloped parts of the capital.

The force temporarily cut the speed limit to 80kph on Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed International Road – on the stretch between Abu Dhabi Industrial City, better known as Icad, and Al Aryam Bridge – from about 6.40am until 10am, due to worsening visibility.

This is part of efforts to encourage motorists to adapt to hazardous weather conditions and abide by traffic rules to ensure road safety.

Motorists who fail to stick to the revised speed limits face financial penalties.

How does the 80kph speed cap work?

Abu Dhabi Police began to enforce the 80kph speed limit during bad weather – such as heavy rain, sandstorms and fog – in April 2019.

The activation of temporary speed limits is posted on electronic signboards on roads and announced on social media to alert drivers about to set off on journeys.

The scheme was introduced months after Abu Dhabi's Department of Transport's traffic safety committee agreed a plan to reduce speeds during poor weather.

Can I be fined for exceeding the temporary limit?

Motorists who break the 80kph speed limit face fines.

Abu Dhabi Police stress that during bad weather motorists should follow the speed limit posted on electronic road signs.

This supersedes any fixed speed limit signs.

Drivers should abide by the revised speed limit until electronic signboards indicate it has been lifted.

Police also typically post on social media to confirm that temporary speed limits have been removed.

How much will I be fined?

Financial penalties depend on how much a driver goes over the temporary limit.

Police impose fines of Dh300 ($81.6) for drivers who exceed speed limits by up to 10kph.

This fine is doubled for those breaking the speed limit by no more than 20kph.

Financial penalties steadily increase in line with the severity of the breach of traffic regulations.

Drivers caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 80kph will be hit with a Dh3,000 fine and have their vehicle seized for 60 days.

Why is the law necessary?

The temporary limit was introduced in an effort to encourage motorists to drive safely during challenging weather conditions, with the aim of reducing numbers of accidents and fatalities.

In January 2021, one person died and eight others were injured in a 19-vehicle pile-up in Abu Dhabi during heavy fog, highlighting the risks posed to drivers by bad weather.

Police sent out a safety warning to the public after the accident was caused by drivers failing to take account of the hazardous conditions.

The force said motorists did not leave adequate distance between other vehicles, leading to the pile-up on a road in Al Muqatara, leading to Al Mafraq.

Those hurt in the crash, which involved cars and larger vehicles, suffered minor to moderate injuries.

The National's tips for driving safely in fog

The National's tips for driving safely in fog

While such temporary speed limits are not mandated in Dubai, police regularly call on the public to take care during adverse weather.

Dubai Police issued a public safety warning after responding to 51 traffic accidents in five hours during foggy weather on December 28.

The force said it received 2,841 calls to its 999 hotline between 5am and 10am, as poor visibility caused widespread disruption.

Col Mohammed Al Muhairi, director of Dubai Police's Command and Control Centre, urged drivers to exercise caution and follow traffic rules at all times.

He underlined the importance of adapting to road conditions by reducing speed and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles.

Police also urged cyclists and e-scooter riders to wear reflective jackets at all times.

Major Gen Saif Al Mazrouei, director of the General Department of Traffic at Dubai Police, said motorists should be vigilant during winter when fog, mist and haze can reduce visibility.

Fog in the UAE - in pictures

Updated: January 16, 2024, 8:31 AM