Sharjah roads among the most dangerous in UAE

The four lane Al Dhaid road has seen numerous fatal collisions and run over accidents, while the Al Maliha-Kalba road, which runs almost parallel, has witnessed similar tragic crashes.
 Lorries make their way west on the Sharjah to Al Dhaid Road. Jeff Topping / The National
Lorries make their way west on the Sharjah to Al Dhaid Road. Jeff Topping / The National

SHARJAH // The roads from Sharjah city to the small oasis towns of the Eastern Region have some of the most spectacular views in the UAE.

They are also among the country’s most deadly.

There have been many fatal collisions and pedestrians killed on the four-lane Al Dhaid Road, while the Al Maliha-Kalba Road that runs almost parallel has also had more than its fair share of tragedies.

Both have a speed limit of 120kph, are used by heavy lorries from nearby industrial areas and are dotted with speed cameras.

But locals say the risk of being caught on video does little to change drivers’ behaviour or reduce the number of accidents.

Just last week, an Indian man was crushed to death after driving into the back of a lorry on Al Dhaid Road. Police said he had failed to keep a safe distance behind the heavy vehicle.

In November last year, two Indians were killed in a similar collision with a lorry on the same stretch.

In the first two weeks of October last year, 15 people died in accidents on Al Dhaid, Al Maliha, and nearby Madam roads. Among them were two Emiratis, aged 17 and 18, whose vehicle flipped over at high speed.

Emergency department staff at Al Dhaid Hospital said most of their work involved helping road accident victims, particularly at weekends.

“We had several tragic accidents over the past few months,” a nurse said. “There were several motorists that came to the ER with severe injuries due to driving recklessly and over the speed limit.”

Traffic police in the area said bad weather conditions and sandstorms were also a major factor in accidents, while most of the pedestrian deaths were caused by crossing at undesignated areas and without proper care.

“The road between Al Dhaid and Sharjah consists of desert and a few factories. Motorists are not able to see a few metres in front of them due to the sandstorms,” one officer said.

“Workers in factories often cross the road in a dangerous way. It is a long highway and motorists are driving at high speed.

“Neither the motorist nor the pedestrian can react correctly when they face each other on the road and the result is a tragic accident.”

In February last year four people, three of them Emirati, died when a driver lost control of his vehicle on Al Dhaid Road and hit a lamp post during a severe rainstorm.

There were also two accidents in which Emiratis were killed after their vehicles hit stray camels that had wandered into the road.

Locals say the number of accidents is a constant worry and they often hear about deaths.

“Our garage receives at least one car every two weeks that has been damaged in a road accident,” said Pakistani Walealdin, 26, who works as a mechanic near Al Dhaid police station.

“As you can see, people cross the road here all the time and not at designated areas. The speed limit is high, people will get hurt and accidents will always happen on Al Dhaid’s roads.”

Ajit, 22, who works as a bicycle delivery man, said he had had more than one narrow escape.

“It is not safe for me to deliver food down the main road,” Ajit said. “Several times I was close to being hit by lorries. One time a fast lorry drove near me and the wind threw me to the side, where I injured my ankle.”

Al Dhaid Road joins smaller roads heading to parts of Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and the Eastern Region. The traffic flow is the reason for so many accidents, a hospital security guard said.

“Because we are in the centre, all the injured from Fujairah and Dibba, as well as Khor Fakkan and Kalba or the industrial area in Al Batayeh, come to our emergency room,” he said.

A furniture salesman in Al Dhaid said there should be more speed bumps and speed traps for motorists.

“The majority of streets here have a speed limit of 60kph, however, there is not a lot of speed-trap cameras to catch the reckless motorists,” he said.

tzriqat@thenational.ae

Published: March 23, 2015 04:00 AM

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