The Goldilocks effect…

Roads are a bit like porridge. Stick with us. We should probably clarify we’re talking here, specifically about the porridge beglonging to ‘the three bears’. In the fairy tale written by Robert Southey the peroxide protagonist, Goldilocks breaks into the home of the ursine triumvirate. Not content with leaving the list of criminal charges at trespassing, she then goes on to commit several counts of grand theft porridge. She finds the contents of the first bowl too hot, the second is too cold (even cat burglars can be pedants), the third purloined bowl of stodge however, was just right.

And so it is with driving speeds on two lanes of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Road. Abu Dhabi Police have announced the introduction of a new minimum speed limit of 120km/h (whilst still observing the maximum speed limit of 140km/h) on the two outermost lanes (the two lanes on the far left) of the highway.


It’s fine, everything is fine

The new limit is in force now and those hogging the outside lanes travelling below 120km/h will be issued with a Dhs400 fine.

This should hopefully deter tailgating, which according to the primary justification of the perpetrators, is usually the perception of the car in front driving too slowly.

Road safety rules in the UAE afford authorities with the right to fine both ends of the tailgating dichotomy (the tailgatee as well as the tailgater). The outermost (furthest left) lane of the highways is reserved for overtaking. If you’re in that lane, and there is a safe space to move into (to your right), and you don’t move, you could be slapped with a Dhs400 fine, regardless of the speed you are travelling.

Of course the vehicle behind you could well be committing a driving violation too. Not through the migraine-inducing strobe effect of the flashed headlights — it’s the ‘tailgating’, that is not leaving sufficient room between you and the vehicle in front, also carries a Dhs400 penalty (and four black points).

The dangers of tailgating

Abu Dhabi Police recently announced that it had recorded a total 19,327 tailgating offences in the first half of the year, that’s up from 13,759 recorded in the first half of 2020.

Abu Dhabi Police have been warning about the dangers of this driving practise for some time now. It represents a major cause of accidents on the roads globally.

Some studies link the act to as much as one-third of all road traffic accidents. There are no winners in a tailgating scenario. If you can pull over safely, you must do so. And regardless of how urgent your errand, you must respect safe distances between vehicles, a fine is inconvenient but the true human cost of your decision could be so much more expensive.

Images: Getty