ABU DHABI // Khaled Al Mansoori says life is a lot like driving a car.
“You need to open your eyes, focus on the road ahead of you and be aware of the drivers on the road and your surroundings,” says the acting chief executive at Emirates Driving Company (EDC) in Abu Dhabi.
“Check your distance, look to your right and left before you turn, check and understand where your blind spots are.”
Mr Al Mansoori, 36, who got his licence at age 17 while studying at George Washington University in the US, says life may move at a fast pace but one should learn to slow down to enjoy it.
“You’ll miss the scenery while you’re driving,” he says. “Sometimes you need to step aside, look at the whole picture and enjoy it.”
Experience, he says, holds more value than education.
“We cannot just rely on education alone,” Mr Al Mansoori says. “We need to have both the experience and the vision, and believe in that vision.
“A diploma is not enough. Your life’s journey does not end there and that your homework is done.”
After graduating with a financial services and banking degree at the Higher Colleges of Technology, Mr Al Mansoori held various administrative and financial jobs in the Abu Dhabi Government, including at the Department of Finance and the Department of Economic Development.
He was EDC’s business development director in 2012 before assuming the role of vice chief executive this year, and was promoted to acting chief executive on September 4.
“At EDC, our mission is to provide the highest quality of driving education and training, and contribute to the increase in road safety and awareness,” Mr Al Mansoori says.
“We aim to make our students and other road users safe, make their loved ones safe, and for them to be more aware of the concept of safety.
“Would you like to be stuck in bed for six months as a result of a road accident or choose to ‘Be Wise, Drive Safe’ and provide for your family?”
Many do not understand the benefits of wearing a seat belt, or the dangers of children under the age of 10 sitting in the front seat, he says.
“Children on the front seat can seriously be injured by an airbag,” Mr Al Mansoori says. “They need to be kept out of the front seat.”
The UAE has a law banning children under the age of 10 from sitting in the front seat of a car.
Those who breach the law face a Dh400 fine and four black points on their licence.
“People should not take road safety rules lightly,” Mr Al Mansoori says.
“Some refuse to learn about road safety and just want to finish their driving lessons quickly.
“They need to stop and think for a moment and spend a little more time understanding the course material, such as the physics of the car and safe driving behaviour, and its overall impact on road safety.
“Some are unable to calculate their blind spot or have never heard of a blind spot until somebody honks at them. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, the Minister of Interior, has a vision to make our roads safe.
“Road traffic crashes have resulted in deaths and injuries and are negatively affecting our infrastructure and economy.”
It is also important that children receive road safety education at home and in school, he says.
“We should always lead by example and help build a culture of road safety,” says Mr Al Mansoori, who has one son and three daughters aged four to 11.
“Our children need to be made aware of the basics of road safety.”