Coming home this evening, with the kids in the back of the car, I had a scary experience that’s left me rather shaken – so a bit of a serious post, this one, with some advice for fellow expats who share the UAE’s roads with drivers from around 180 different nations.
It was just after dark, rush-hour and the traffic was heavy. We were on one of Dubai’s eight-lane highways, which you have no choice but to take from where we live – to get to school, to the park, to the mall, pretty much anywhere.
In front to the left was a van, travelling at speed despite being old-looking and probably not road-worthy in other parts of the world. I expect it had one of those misspelt stickers on the back: ‘Am I driving safe? If no please call *insert driver’s mobile number*’
The van blew a tyre – that I know, because I saw a flame shoot out from a back wheel – then I’m guessing the driver hit the brakes, because he lost control and swerved dangerously – careering across the highway, right into our oncoming path.
I narrowly avoided hitting him as he ploughed across several lanes and, thank god, the cars behind us didn’t slam into the back of us, either. The whole episode played out in slow-motion and I shook like a leaf all the way home.
DH, who I phoned straight away, promises me that if we’d crashed, it wouldn’t have been as bad as I’m morbidly imagining as everyone was (hopefully) slowing down, and it probably seemed worse because it was dark, but even so, it felt like a close call, if you ask me, and I held the kids close when we got home.
It made me think: would I know what to do if our car blew a tyre on the highway? Do you know? I just looked it up and here’s what I found:
DO NOT slam on the brakes (like van man instinctively did tonight) as this may throw you into a spin. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and do not over steer to correct any swerve or pull. Try to point the car as straight as possible and let the car slow itself down. Put your indicator on and drift towards the shoulder. When all four wheels are off the highway, brake lightly and cautiously until you stop.
Stay safe peeps.
PHOTO CREDIT: Living the Travel Channel