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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
According to Article 8 of UAE Traffic Law, anyone who drives in a way that poses a potential danger to others on the road should be fined Dh1,000, given 12 black points, and have their cars confiscated for 30 days. Another law, Article 135 says that those who use any hand-held device while on the wheel should be fined Dh200 and given four black points. Studies even show that texting at the wheel is riskier than drunk driving. But have the laws made a difference? Do people no longer use their cell phones in the car while on the road? Well, here is one more fact that may lead you to the state of affairs in the present times. It was reported that more than 13,389 motorists were caught texting while driving by the Abu Dhabi police in the first 6 months of the year 2011. According to the head of Dubai Traffic Police, Brigadier Mohammed Saif Al Zafin, his department issues 50,000 to 60,000 fines a year for texting while driving. So it is not that drivers don’t know the traffic rules and regulations about texting and driving, but simply choose not to follow them.
Another great suggestion to overcome this problem is to fit your car with awesome gadgets that do the texting for you. For example, download the ShoutOut app to turn your smart phone into a texting machine that types out anything you say. This is a good hands-free solution. You can even opt for a GM vehicle or an OnStar. Also, once you do this do not forget to insurance your car. Safety gadgets can get you extra discounts on your premiums. Of course, before you buy or renew your insurance be sure to use some car insurance comparison sites to ensure you get the best deal.
The Police and the Roads and Transport Authority are doing their bit to ensure safety on the roads, but it is important the drivers take part of the responsibility too. This is the reason it is necessary to read about the evils of texting and driving. We all feel our kids are safe drivers and as are we, but how many times have you answered a call while driving or sent a text message? The invariable reply is ‘many’. We all mean well and don’t think of ourselves as a menace to society, but this is exactly what we are doing. Studies show that out of all car accidents each year caused by a driver aged between 18 to 40 years, a considerable percentage happen because of using cell phones while driving. This is either talking on them, texting, while answering calls or even hanging up.
First of all, we are all under the illusion that everything we do on the phone is important. Who cares if you reply to that SMS after 30 minutes, or update your FB status later in the day? But, we feel everything is urgent. How many times do you ignore you phone’s ringing? Well, the typical answer is never. Some people may even add, ‘why have a mobile if you don’t intend to answer it?’ I suggest that if you can’t resist the urge of reading your latest SMS, get the other person in the car read it to you. Or better still employ a driver so that you can reply and keep in constant touch with everyone you want without endangering innocent people on the road. While these are some suggestions, the best way is to turn the cell off the minute you turn the ignition on.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Gone are the days when driving a car was a luxury. In today’s fast paced world, where every minute is of great value, driving a car has become more of a necessity. People need cars to go everywhere – work, the park, the dentist and so on. Of course, there are always public transit options such as trains, cabs and buses, which are much cheaper and faster, but nothing beats the convenience of a personal car. However, before you even think of buying a car, there are a few things you need to bear in mind. Once there factors are taken care of, you are all set to drive your very own car. Mentioned below are a few of these factors:
1. Get a license: This might sound very obvious, but it is something which cannot be neglected. It is very important to get a driving licence before you even think about getting behind the wheel. Even a learner’s license should suffice for that matter. Having a license means that you are qualified and legally permitted to drive a car.
2. Think in terms of economy: Of course, you bought a car. It is of your preferred make, model and colour, but have you really thought of it in terms of economy? This is something that needs to be given due consideration. With the ever-rising fuel prices, it is very important for your car to give you a good average per litre of fuel. Sometimes, even the best cars have a weak fuel average. Hence, you should take your time and choose your car very carefully.
3. Know the rules: Knowing the rules is as important as getting your license. It ensures safety and good driving etiquette. Although you are required to study your rulebook when you go to get your license, it is important that you keep brushing up every now and then. By doing this, you will not only be a good and responsible driver, but a safe one too.
4. Get your car insurance: Mishaps never come with a warning. Even when you drive with utmost care, things can go awry when you least expect it. This is where car insurance comes in. Having one financially protects you from an accident and you can always claim the insurance amount for any damage that your car has suffered. Moreover, having car insurance takes some load off your mind and you can enjoy some stress-free driving.
5. Think about how you feel: Do you really need a car? Is public transit a better option for you? How do you really feel about driving a car? Are you confident enough? All these questions need to be answered before you step behind a wheel.
6. Learn from someone experienced: To become a good driver, you need to learn from someone who’s good. The best option is to go to a certified driving school. If you do not want to do that, you can always learn from a friend or a family member.
7. Be a mechanic: Before you get behind the wheel, you should learn how to take care of your car. Make sure you know the workings and parts of your car before you start using it. This will ensure the optimum performance of your car at all times.
8. Follow driving etiquette: Learning the rules is one thing, but learning driving etiquettes is equally important too. Little things like not honking, not speeding and traffic courtesy can make the road a safer and more pleasant place.
9. Get your car accessories: A car isn’t complete on a personal level if you don’t have your personal things in it. Little things like an air fresheners and personal seat covers can personalise your car to the next level.
10. Always be alert: No matter how empty the road is, always make sure that you are vigilant. Alertness will ensure safety and ultimately, we all want a safe ride, don’t we?
We agree that Dubai is a world-class city and has every type of entertainment and amenity packed in it, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the rest of the world. Traveling abroad has become somewhat of a norm these days and people from all walks of life embark on short and long travels to different parts of the world. Whether you are going on a last minute business trip or a well-deserved vacation, here are some things you must do in order to have a no-problems time away from home.
Have all your documents in order and handy
These include your passport and air ticket. Avid travelers usually keep a photo copy of their passport and visa with them in the hand luggage or suitcase for emergencies. If you have a smart phone, you can simply take a picture of the visa and the first page of your passport. To take this a step further, mail it to your email. In many countries you need to show your passport in order to get into certain clubs, and carrying the passport with you at all times can be taxing. In such cases the passport picture or photo copy is very handy.
Double check reservations
You have reserved your accommodation a month or two in advance, hired a car online, and even booked certain tours, but it is important to double check before to set out to land in that foreign country. There are always chances of mix-ups. Plus, it’s better to be cautious than sorry. So take the time to call and confirm the rooms at the hotel. You may also take this opportunity to ask a few questions like how far the hotel is from the airport, whether the hotel can arrange for a tour you are interested in, etc. Call your travel agent to confirm the tours, dates and timings.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance is one of the most important aspects of having a hassle-free trip abroad. There are a number of companies that offer online travel insurance in Dubai. You can simply log onto the company’s website and buy the required cover in a matter of minutes. Make sure you deal with a well-known company and do compare prices and services before making your final decision.
The Internet has made things so easy these days. You can find out the exact temperature and weather of any location around the world by doing a quick search online. But doing this is important. You don’t want to be stuck with the wrong wardrobe, do you?
Packing for the right weather and dressing appropriately for the country is one thing, but you must make sure that you are carrying clothes you are comfortable in. most times we end up wearing the same ensemble the whole day, especially on holidays, so make sure you carry clothes that breathe and are comfortable.
Learn the language
We are not suggesting that you must speak fluently in a foreign language, but merely that things and traveling around becomes a lot easier if you know a few native words. At least learn the country’s greeting.
Carry the cash
Don’t forget that your country’s money is no good anywhere else. So, get a sufficient amount converted beforehand. Also, carry at least one international credit card.
Research the destination
By researching we mean reading up on travel blogs about the country, seeing the country’s map, knowing your itinerary well and seeing what more you can add on to it at the last minute.
Do not forget to carry your camera or video recorder. No travel is complete without capturing some fantastic shots!
You will want to bring back goodies from your trip. But buying something that is not native to the place can seem like a waste in retrospect. So find out what the country is famous for first.