Image used for illustrative purposes. Photo: Archive
Cheap thrill-seeking, adrenaline and social media attention are some of the immediate reasons why some young residents drive dangerously.
Earlier this week on Monday, five young men, aged between 18 and 20, were seriously injured in a horrific accident after performing dangerous stunts in the Al Ruwayyah desert area. According to Dubai Police, the 19-year-old Emirati driver, identified only as MAM, was performing stunts in the sandy area when he made a sudden swerve, causing the vehicle to overturn.
In a separate incident the next day, a young couple died after their speeding sports car fell off a bridge near the Etihad Mall in Al Khawaneej. The car was completely destroyed and both the man and the woman inside died.
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Khaleej Times I spoke to some young male residents of Dubai who have performed stunts and reckless driving. An Emirati man in his 20s, who asked not to be named, said: “Honestly, I don’t have any particular reason to do stunts. For me it is like any other hobby to test your control and feel the adrenaline.
“But of course, I’m not saying that anyone should try to perform stunts on the road or in the desert. First you need to have the skills and know your car very well,” he added, noting that he only does it in closed spaces or away from the crowd.
Madness to make ‘reels’
Another young driver noticed that the trend of making ‘reels’ on social networks is leading him to be more daring. “(Stunt driving) always gets a lot of views,” he said, adding: “People are surprised to see tires lose contact with the pavement or drivers stand up while doing donuts” (a dangerous maneuver that involves turning rear or front wheels in a continuous motion, creating circular skid marks).
Meanwhile, speeding, by definition, is driving at a speed of 40 km/h or more over the posted speed limit; It means going 160 km/h on Sheikh Zayed Road. Some drivers drive as if they were on the track to “test the capabilities of their car if it is designed for speed.”
A driver in his 20s said he gets cheap thrills when he accelerates and it makes him feel like he’s in one of his favorite movies about speeding cars. “Although I’m aware that it’s just a movie and it’s made in a closed circuit, with a strong warning for no one to try it, I’m still excited to do it in real life,” he said, without admitting if he has done it. I really did it.
‘I just stopped’
Faced with numerous reports of car accident deaths each year, AMA, a young Emirati father in his 30s, said: “I felt like I had to stop and I just got over it. “I don’t want to put myself in danger anymore.”
Fortunately for AMA, he quit before suffering any injuries. He almost had some accidents due to speeding and stunt driving.
“I’m not a child anymore. And even though I’m only risking my own life, I have to think about my family, I have children now! “I can’t keep doing it,” she stressed.
young and dangerous
Thomas Edelmann, Founder and CEO of RoadSafetyUAE, said: “The problem of stunts and speeding is not unique to the UAE. According to UN studies, the young driver segment is highly overrepresented in the statistics of accidents and deaths in traffic accidents. They pose a greater risk to themselves, their passengers and other road users. Death rates for drivers ages 18 to 24 are typically more than double those of older drivers.”
Thomas Edelmann. Photo: Exterior
“The main causes of accidents in this age group are speeding, using the phone while driving and not maintaining a safe distance between vehicles. Young drivers score worse on many dimensions of reckless driving compared to older drivers, as our studies attest. It seems that only with experience and age do UAE drivers adapt their behavior and drive safer,” he stressed.
What should be done?
Edelamann recommended that stakeholders interacting with young drivers should be aware of their vulnerability. He explained: “In this context we are referring to driving institutes, to parents and families, to schools and universities, to your friends and colleagues.
“In driving schools, for example, and beyond teaching the technical aspects of good driving, we need to add ‘life skills’ curricular content to teach new drivers about proper road culture and address the root causes. of dangerous driving related to young drivers,” he added. .
Edelmann continued: “As in other countries, there may be ‘phased driving licences’ for cars and motorcycles, i.e. initially only cars and motorcycles of lower power are allowed and, as there are no fines and driving safely, within After a couple of years, better results will be obtained. The vehicles can be used by novice drivers/passengers.”
“Schools and universities must target young drivers and raise their awareness of appropriate behavior on the roads. Parents and families should help a lot, especially at the beginning of young drivers’ driving careers, as they have the credibility and closeness to share their first-hand experiences. Friends and companions of young drivers must take responsibility and should not encourage dangerous or risky driving, but rather demonstrate that they are true and caring friends and encourage safe driving,” he emphasized.
‘Tough fines’ to help save lives
Meanwhile, Dubai Police earlier this year imposed stricter fines on offending drivers. Reckless driving and running a red light are now among the serious traffic offenses that will require motorists to shell out Dh50,000 to release their seized vehicles. A more severe fine of Dh100,000 will have to be paid for confiscated vehicles that have participated in illegal races.
Major General Abdullah Ali Al Ghaithi, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police Operations, previously said: “Several amendments were made to the traffic law in Dubai with the aim of promoting road safety and protecting lives and property. Legal amendments support the push toward preserving lives. The amendments target reckless drivers.”
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