Sandstorms are a common occurrence in the Gulf region and any resident of the UAE is bound to be caught in one at some point. Unfortunately, driving through one is not the easiest thing to do and can actually be a horrifying experience especially for drivers with allergies and respiratory issues. The following are some of the things that drivers can do to survive a sandstorm in Dubai.
Check the weather forecast
It is always important to consult with the weatherman before embarking on any errands. This can be as simple as checking the weather conditions on your phone or listening to the radio. It will help you plan your journey or cancel it altogether if the weather predictions include sandstorms, dust storms or tornadoes.
Stop if necessary
In case you missed the weather reports and got caught in a sandstorm, you need to assess the situation and decide whether the visibility levels permit you to drive. If you are unable to see beyond 300m it is strongly advisable to stop and wait for the storm to subside. Should you decide to stop, ensure that you park your car off the road and seek shelter in a building. Gas stations and cafes are the best places to park your car during a sandstorm. Whatsoever you do, never stop on the road as this might endanger you and other motorists due to poor visibility.
Drive extra carefully
When driving through a sandstorm, you must exercise extra caution. It is important to drive slowly and watch the white lines to maintain your lane. Furthermore, you should keep a safe distance between yourself and other cars as they cannot see you properly. You must also use your fog lights as well as your headlights as this will make it easier for other motorists to see you in the low visibility levels. You should also shut off your radio and any other gadgets so that you can be more alert to the sounds around you. Avoid driving through heaps of sand as these can cause you to lose control. Most accidents that occur during the sandstorm happen on the freeway and where possible you should exit the highway. Remember, if you are unable to see beyond 300m, you can always stop and continue with your journey after the storm has cleared up.
While you might not be in a position to control the weather, you can prepare for yourself ahead of time. You should always have a first aid kit, sandstorm safety kit, blankets and a flashlight in your car. A veil, mask and warm clothes can also be useful in protecting you from the cold wind and dust. In addition, it is advisable to carry foods and snacks as well as entertainment gadgets to keep you busy in case you have to wait for a long time for the storm to calm down. Always have emergency numbers and a charged phone to call for help in the event of an accident.
Although you cannot prevent Dubai sandstorms from happening, you can survive one with the above tips. Once you weather the sandstorm, you should clean your car properly to avoid any damages.