New fog monitors to warn Dubai motorists

New fog monitoring stations in Dubai are aimed at cautioning motorists against fog-related accidents.

UAE - Dubai - Jan 02 - 2012: A screen with meteorological information during the inauguration ceremony of the Fog & meteorological Monitoring Station in Al Warqa area.  ( Jaime Puebla - The National Newspaper )
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DUBAI // Fourteen new fog monitoring stations in Dubai will caution motorists and prevent fog-related accidents, the Dubai Municipality said today.

The first-of-its-kind automated monitors in the country - including five on various coasts - will improve visibility information on land and sea in the emirate.

"One of the purposes is to prevent any accident," said Hussein Nasser Lootah, the director general of Dubai Municipality, after inaugurating one of the stations in Al Warqa'a, off Emirates Road.

"The other is to make drivers slow down...We have a number of these stations distributed in the city of Dubai including Hatta. These stations give a warning when we have fog in the city especially in the main roads and highways," he said.

Though the stations have been operational for the past two months, the municipality began sharing visibility information with Dubai Police only today.

The initiative seeks to avoid accidents like the 2008 crash in Ghantoot - infamously dubbed Fog Tuesday - in which four died and hundreds were injured because of low visibility on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai motorway. Two years later, a similar pile-up in Jebel Ali killed a bus driver and injured 40 people.

The stations will also give live updates of temperature, humidity and wind speed in different areas.

"We have spot, live pictures from these areas. All these pictures will be transferred to a server in municipality. We are linked with police headquarters and they will inform drivers if there is fog," Mr Lootah said.

Eight sophisticated, automated fog-detection machines are located on land, mostly near arterial highways. Five others have been installed near coasts, and one has been set up in the sea, about 20 kilometres off the Jumeirah coast. They were installed in the past eight months at a total cost of Dh2million.