Speed limits being changed in the UAE

I was disappointed to read in the paper this morning that the road from Dubai to Abu Dhabi will have its speed limit raised from 120Kmh (70mph) to 160 (100mph).
Apparently this is in response to people complaining that the numerous radars currently placed on that stretch of road are annoying and that since the road is so new and wide, a faster speed limit is a good idea.
I think this is a shame. Currently the Emirates is looking to improve its road safety and the reason the radars are on the road is to stop people speeding, as speeding is proven to be the lead cause of accidents in the UAE, as reported in the local news. The recent news on campaigns to improve traffic safety is very welcome and I think this speed limit change will be counter-productive.
The road may well be modern and wide, but having regularly experienced how dangerous it is having people speed down it, raising the speed limit will surely just cause more deaths.
Many people in the UAE have large, powerful cars that can easily do 220KMh or over. To illustrate this, on Friday I counted two new Bentley Coupes, 25 Range Rovers, 7 Hummers and numerous Porsches – and we only drove to a restaurant for lunch and then to a cinema after. There are also numerous cars that pootle along at 100. My favourite is the grandly named ‘Nissan Cedric’. One of the worst problems on this particular road is speeding drivers whose vision is blocked by a small stretch of road that’s higher than the stretch in front. Coming over a small rise, they find themselves suddently encountering someone doing the speed limit who was previously out of view and is probably sitting in the wrong lane, or overtaking someone who is driving in the wrong lane. I’ve been in the latter situation a couple of times and it’s scary.
Increasing the limit will also lead to more vehicles driving at vastly different speeds, which will also make things worse. My Wrangler’s about as aerodynamic as a brick, so 140KMh is the maximum speed it’s comfortable to drive at when on my way to Abu Dhabi. Having Land Cruisers and Patrols appearing out of nowhere, flashing their lights at me whilst doing over 160 is not a nice experience and I can see it starting to happen more often.
I do sympathise with people who want to go fast down this road. It’s straight, wide and new, with little scenery. Letting rip in your new Ferrari, Porsche or Lambo must be a real pleasure. That said, I sincerely hope the trial period mentioned, along with an apparent review by a Swedish road safety body, end with the limit returning to 120Kmh.

5 Responses to “Speed limits being changed in the UAE”

  1. ThinGuy Says:

    Hi Chris,
    Curious about the speedometer alarms in the cars. I spent about a month in the UAE in 2001 and drove the road (well as a passenger) from Dubai to Abu Dhabi a few times. I always noticed that when you were above the speed limit an annoying buzzer went off in the car alerting the driver that they were breaking the speed limit. What are the plans to increase the threshold on these devices? Will there be a charge for this service?
    I also heard that the people that own the super fast cars seem to have “trouble” with those alarms getting mysteriously disabled. Their mechanics can’t quite seem to figure it out. 😉

  2. Chris Says:

    Good point.
    I can’t seen anything changing – the beeping thing is actually a standard throughout the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) countries. If you buy a car that is ‘GCC’ spec it’ll have the speed beep , as well as a few other things such as very powerful air con and a few extra fans to cool the engine. A classic thing is for someone to buy a Merc or suchlike for an apparently excellent price during the winter, only to find it overheating in the summer, with the AC blowing warm air out as your sweat your way to work.
    The unfair thing about the speed alarm is that each make is different. My Wrangler appears to be blessed with a fog horn, Chevs flash a light politely at you and new Toyotas beep pathetically about ten times and then shut up, flashing an orange light to remind you of your folly.
    I’ve heard of unscrupulous garages that will ‘de-beep’ you. A side effect of this is that all the alarms in the car stop. On the Wrangler, which squawks at me constantly for leaving the key in, moving slightly with the handbrake on and other misdemeanours, this probably wouldn’t be such a bad thing 🙂

  3. Martin Vincent Says:

    In my opinion speed thats higher than the 120 is not the cause of accidents and deaths. Its those reckless drivers who go zig-zag without any consideration for safety!!! even if your going hundred some nutjob can kill us if he drives like that. (Im talking about manevouring very fast and close to other vehicles without realisation that a ‘touch’ could cause the vehicles to loose control and then its the end of everything). It’s like watching people play a video game.

  4. Vikram Mohan Says:

    We have touched speeds over 320 Km/h on the Sheikh Zayed road with no problems at all. Even the radar’s (the old box shape ones not the new diagonally placed ones) are too slow to flash at those speeds.
    It is just controlled speeding that matters and tailgating is essential to get those slow drivers out of your way if you are in a hurry.
    Plus you have to admit you have to love the adernaline rush when the driver in the front car can see you smiling in the rear view mirror.

  5. shahnewaz khan Says:

    Dude,
    If you desapointed for having a higher spped limit of 160 you should go and live in, that is really safe. or never come to the street at all. if somebody is driving a bently or a porshe i dont see any rick or problem driving them @200mph. those care made to run at that speed safely. accedent is an accedenf and does not reallky really happen for any spesific reason but the mistake the driver do at that perticular time. other wise where you staightway loose you licence here in australia for going just 150kph on 110kph road (highest speed limit) and cops sitting with the camera all over the place (so people normally abide by the law) wount have any accedent at all. but the truth is people still die on the road. this is normall and you have to take it easy and other than worring about the speed limit of the road know the limit of yourself. like personally i never so more than 170kph in my car cuz i know after that i loose control. and be really cautios after 130kph cuz i know that;s my limit.
    Cheers

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