Heavy rain across the country yesterday made roads treacherous, and a spate of accidents prompted police to warn drivers to take extra care. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Heavy rain across the country yesterday made roads treacherous, and a spate of accidents prompted police to warn drivers to take extra care. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

UAE drivers ‘risk lives’ as rain lashes down



ABU DHABI // Drivers are putting their own lives and the lives of others in danger because they don’t know how to adapt their driving to the kind of wet, windy and foggy conditions that battered parts of the country on Sunday, police said.

Traffic experts warned motorists that the most important precaution to take when the weather is bad is to reduce their speed. They also urged drivers to always use their indicators, check their tyres and to take care when changing lanes to prevent crashes.

“In other countries, every other day there is rain and people are used to driving during the rainy season,” said Maj Gen Mohammed Al Zafeen, the director of the Dubai Police traffic department.

“Here, the problem is that it is always sunny. Then when it gets wet it is a totally different story. Most of the drivers do not know how to drive during the rainy season.”

Driving in the rain is “a different ball game”, Gen Al Zafeen said.

“They should cut down on their speed,” he said. “This is the main factor. They also have to turn their lights on, especially when visibility is down.

“They should use directional signals and they have to use wipers, and have good wipers to begin with.

“But the most important thing is to cut down on the speed. This is the major factor in accidents because the roads get slippery.”

Gen Al Zafeen also said water pooled on some roads. Coupled with poor visibility, this adds further risk, especially for the inexperienced motorist.

“The issue here is that our rainy season is probably the equivalent of about 10 hours of rainfall a year, so people don’t know how to drive in it. They are not used to it,” he said.

Drivers also have a tendency to drive at the same speeds in the rain as they would do in sunny, dry weather, said Gen Al Zafeen.

But slippery wet patches on the road can cause the car to skid if it is going too fast for the poor weather conditions, and inexperienced motorists can overcorrect.

Dr Abdulilah Zineddin, a road-safety expert in Abu Dhabi, said UAE roads followed international standards for motorway design.

“So they are equipped, in general, to deal with inclement weather conditions,” he said.

“However, these roads must be maintained properly. The sand usually fills up the drainage pipes and it is crucial that these pipes follow a rigorous maintenance programme.

“My advice to drivers is to plan their trip. If you know it is going to rain, then leave a little bit early so you don’t rush. They must also check their tyres and brakes.”

Traffic police must also play their part, Dr Zineddin said.

“I think police have a big responsibility,” he said. “They should make more police vehicles visible so drivers are forced to drive slower.”

Thomas Edelmann, a road-safety expert from Austria and founder of the Road Safety UAE initiative, said driving on a motorway that has a speed limit of 120kph does not mean you have to drive that fast, especially in poor weather conditions.

“Maybe you have to be doing 60kph,” he said. “We have to slow down and use our brain – not the accelerator,” he said.

“If visibility goes down, then attention must go up and speed must go down.”

The weather bureau on Sunday also urged motorists to abide by traffic rules, reduce speed and leave enough distance between vehicles during the rainy weather.

jbell@thenational.ae

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

ANDROID VERSION NAMES, IN ORDER

Android Alpha

Android Beta

Android Cupcake

Android Donut

Android Eclair

Android Froyo

Android Gingerbread

Android Honeycomb

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Android Jelly Bean

Android KitKat

Android Lollipop

Android Marshmallow

Android Nougat

Android Oreo

Android Pie

Android 10 (Quince Tart*)

Android 11 (Red Velvet Cake*)

Android 12 (Snow Cone*)

Android 13 (Tiramisu*)

Android 14 (Upside Down Cake*)

Android 15 (Vanilla Ice Cream*)

* internal codenames

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Mountain Boy

Director: Zainab Shaheen

Starring: Naser Al Messabi

Rating: 3/5

Profile Idealz

Company: Idealz

Founded: January 2018

Based: Dubai

Sector: E-commerce

Size: (employees): 22

Investors: Co-founders and Venture Partners (9 per cent)

Married Malala

Malala Yousafzai is enjoying married life, her father said.

The 24-year-old married Pakistan cricket executive Asser Malik last year in a small ceremony in the UK.

Ziauddin Yousafzai told The National his daughter was ‘very happy’ with her husband.

The specs: 2018 Nissan 370Z Nismo

The specs: 2018 Nissan 370Z Nismo
Price, base / as tested: Dh182,178
Engine: 3.7-litre V6
Power: 350hp @ 7,400rpm
Torque: 374Nm @ 5,200rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
​​​​​​​Fuel consumption, combined: 10.5L / 100km

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Look north

BBC business reporters, like a new raft of government officials, are being removed from the national and international hub of London and surely the quality of their work must suffer.