The UAE has introduced new fines to improve road safety during bad weather.
From now on, motorists who gather near valleys, dams or flooded areas during rainfall will be fined Dh1,000 ($272), the Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday.
Motorists will also have six black points added to their licences.
Drivers who enter valleys while they are overflowing with rainwater – regardless of their level of danger – will incur a fine of Dh2,000 and 23 black points. Their vehicle will be impounded for 60 days.
Anyone who obstructs authorities from carrying out their work, including those regulating traffic, or anyone obstructing ambulance and rescue workers during emergencies and disasters, will be fined Dh1,000 and accrue four black points on their driving licence. Their vehicle will be impounded for 60 days.
The new penalties aim to support emergency teams responding during unstable weather or heavy rainfall.
Risk to lives
Despite several warnings from UAE authorities advising people to keep away from flooded areas during heavy rain, some motorists still risk their lives trying to drive along flooded paths, without taking into account the risk of being swept away by the water.
In January, videos shared online by the National Centre of Meteorology showed motorists driving their vehicles through flooded roads, despite warnings from the Ministry of Interior.
“The traffic law penalties encourage road users to be cautious and not to endanger their lives or others. Motorists should follow instructions by the relevant authorities during emergencies and not block their ways,” Brig Al Harthi added.
Last year, Abu Dhabi Police issued a safety plea to the public after a motorist was involved in a crash in Al Ain while taking pictures of floods in the area.
A Nissan Patrol overturned in a wadi filled with water following heavy rain in August last year. The car appeared to have veered off a nearby road.
The force said the driver suffered moderate injuries in the incident.
Large parts of the Northern Emirates were hit by a 2022 summer deluge in 2022 that caused widespread flooding.
Seven people died and more than 800 were rescued following the extreme weather which damaged homes, vehicles and possessions.