UAE: Slow Driving by Women Blamed for Causing Road Accidents


Abu Dhabi - Jan 16: Women driving too slowly are causing accidents and traffic jams and can lead to as many problems on the roads as speeding drivers, the Ministry of Interior said yesterday.

While the vast majority of road accidents are caused by men, the Ministry said that this was “despite [women] driving their vehicles at a very slow speed”.

According to findings from an investigation titled Soft Driving: Confusing for Others, or a Model? released by the Ministry yesterday, 2,916 of the 3,172 traffic accidents recorded last year in the capital were caused by men almost 92 per cent. Just 256 accidents were caused by women drivers. The term “soft driving” refers to female motorists.

Driving below the minimum speed limit on highways and inner-city roads also resulted in 135 fines last year.

Slow motorists cause accidents when frustrated commuters, perhaps anxious to get to school or work on clogged roads, try to overtake lagging vehicles, the Ministry said, with women apparently being identified as frequent culprits.

Despite the investigation’s claim that women are often slow drivers, Jihad Sebeitah, the general manager of Emirates Driving Company, said in a joint statement with the Ministry that “there is no male driving or female driving, but there are common behaviours”.

But he added: “Some say that males are more rushed and have an adventurous spirit, whereas females are by nature less rushed and more deliberate.” However, driving rules are the same for men and women, Mr Sebeitah said.

The report stressed the dangers of slow driving, chastising those who often delay other motorists in the middle or left lanes, “preventing them from reaching work on time, and putting them at risk of accidents while attempting to overtake cars that are travelling slowly, particularly on outer roads”.

“There are general guidelines for road users, male or female,” said Col Hamad al Shamsi, the head of the Abu Dhabi Police Traffic Department. He called on slow drivers to use the right lane, particularly on highways.

Driving slowly on the left or centre lanes is a violation because it causes congestion, and at dangerously slow speeds it is difficult to avoid accidents, said Mahmoud Abdul Qader, a researcher at Abu Dhabi Police’s Centre for Research and Security Studies.

“The road represents a society and road users should respect the rights of others,” he said.

Mr Abdul Qader said that slow drivers in these lanes, particularly on highways, increase the risks of rear-end collisions and crashes among vehicles trying to overtake them. The report comes just two days after an announcement by the police that they would bolster undercover patrols that curb speeding, which was the cause of more than two-thirds of traffic offences registered last year in Abu Dhabi.

Caroline Victoria, a college student and driver, said the criticism of female motorists was unfair. “I agree that women drive are slower than men, but most accidents are caused by 20-year-olds who go crazy on the highways,” she said.

But Omayya al Sayegh, a driver and housewife, said women were generally bad drivers. “They’re slow and they lack concentration,” she said. “If you see anyone driving aimlessly from left to right and not knowing where to go, you can tell that she’s a woman.”

However, Amal Shukrallah, a female driver and former schoolteacher, said: “That’s the opinion of people who are against women. “Everyone knows that some of the best drivers in the world are women.”

Abdullah, a Saudi national who asked for his last name not to be published, said that driving below the speed limit was a problem, but he did not notice women disproportionately driving slowly. “In my experience they drive as normally as any other person,” he said.

“They’re not aggressive drivers like males who will overtake you and use the high beam on you, but they drive as normally as everyone else.”

Hisham El Shaarani, an engineer, said he noticed that females were generally slower drivers, but that it was important to curb speeding as well as slow driving to ensure smooth traffic flow.

“In my opinion, the problem is a combination of people driving slow and fast on the same road,” he said. “They should educate people so that when the speed limit is 100, everyone should drive at that speed. The traffic should flow at the same rate.”


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Comment on this article

  • steve, Dubai/Mangalore

    Sun, Jan 17 2010

    In my opinion, the problem is a combination of people driving slow and fast on the same road,” he said. “They should educate people so that when the speed limit is 100, everyone should drive at that speed. The traffic should flow at the same rate.”-Hisham El Shaarani, an engineer. This is the best solution to avoid much of the problems!!!

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Frank, dubai

    Sun, Jan 17 2010

    Fine agree slow driving but if you are slow please use right last lane (slow track)

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Rehman Konaje, Dubai

    Sat, Jan 16 2010

    Yes. 95% of the lady drivers are slow drivers. I don't know why ? This causes agony among the fellow drivers. Lack of good teaching may the reason. And some of the men when they pick their mobile phone then automatically their leg from the axelerator goes. They can't take the driving & talking together. My simple advice for this type of men is please don't attend the call if you have got this nature.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Raj, Udupi/Abudhabi

    Sat, Jan 16 2010

    Mr.Navaz.........Confidence comes only after practice...............

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Navaz, Udupi/Dubai

    Sat, Jan 16 2010

    I completely agree that accidents are caused by slow moving traffic also, not only women but there are some men also driving very slow. My suggestion to them is, dont drive the vehicle when you are not confident.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

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