Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 October 2020

UAE motorists need to think: ‘what if it was your relative?’

Ambulance workers recall the frightening lack of care they see on the roads as they try to reach an emergency.
Farhan Husain, area manager of National Ambulance, follows the ambulance to the scene of an accident in Ajman. Pawan Singh / The National
Farhan Husain, area manager of National Ambulance, follows the ambulance to the scene of an accident in Ajman. Pawan Singh / The National

ABU DHABI // Frontline workers say all too often they encounter motorists slowing down, photographing distressing scenes at an accident or failing to give way to ambulances on their way to emergencies.

As well as delaying the emergency response, such behaviour can cause more dangers on the roads. “We were at an accident in Ajman,” said Mohammed R, an emergency medical technician (EMT) with the National Ambulance service.

“It was difficult to treat the patient and transport them from the scene because so much traffic was built up from people slowing down to look.

“It also caused at least two other accidents because people were not looking where they were going.”

EMT Saleh M said motorists taking photos of crash sites flabbergasted him.

“I don’t understand why people do it,” he said. “This causes problems for the patient and their families. How would you like to see your loved one all over social media?”

EMT Fahd B said drivers using the hard shoulder to avoid traffic queues at crash sites was a particular bugbear. “At an accident in Sharjah last week I looked up and saw a car driving on the hard shoulder very fast,” he said. “We almost lost a colleague to something similar six months ago.”

In March, an emergency worker was seriously injured when a motorist attempting to overtake an ambulance lost control and crashed into it.

“Fortunately, the police protected us and issued fines to the people driving on the shoulder,” Fahd said.

Road-safety campaigners welcomed the National Ambulance’s awareness campaign, saying motorists need to allow emergency workers to do their jobs saving lives. “We should ask ourselves how we would want motorists to behave if we or any body close to us needed an ambulance, police or the fire department,” said Thomas Edelmann, founder of Road Safety UAE.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Updated: October 7, 2016 04:00 AM