Driving in Qatar
If you are driving in Qatar, most importantly if you are new into driving in this country, it is better to be familiar of the road safety guidelines set by the Ministry of Interior (MoI).
The basic strategy of a Safe System approach in the country is to ensure that in the event of a crash, the impact energies remain below the threshold likely to produce either death or serious injury. This threshold will vary from crash scenario to crash scenario, depending upon the level of protection offered to the road users involved.
For example, the chances of survival for an unprotected pedestrian hit by a vehicle diminish rapidly at speeds greater than 30 km/h, whereas for a properly restrained motor vehicle occupant the critical impact speed is 50 km/h (for side impact crashes) and 70 km/h (for head-on crashes).
Safety requirements for the vehicle
Before you start driving ensure the following requirements are properly availed and keep the pieces of advice given below:
• Validity of tires.
• Efficiency of the brake.
• Oil and water measurement.
• Wellness of side signs, lights and glass areas
• Efficiency of the vehicle engine.
• Validity of fire extinguisher and its easy accessibility to you.
• Closure of the machine cover
• Availability of a spare key to use in the case of the loss of the original key or forgetting it inside the car.
• Arrange the driving seat in a comfortable position for you
• Buckle up and prevent children below 10 years to sit in the front seats.
• Make sure to put the side and interior mirrors in the right mode that lets you see the cars behind you or beside you.
• Make sure that your co-traveler wears seat belt.
• Before starting the car engine, make sure that the handbrake is tight and the engine is in the correct position.
• Make sure your vehicle’s alarm system are functional.
• Pay attention to driving and not to be busy with something else.
• Abide by the stipulated speed for the road.
• Abide by the road marks that show you how to move from one track to another, as well as on the main street and roundabouts.
• Leave safe distance between you and the car in front of you.
• Ensure that the road is free before you enter it.
• Give pedestrians their right to cross the road.
• Never overtake in places where overtaking is forbidden.
• Never change the track suddenly without checking the track.
• Don’t use strobe lights to annoy the drivers in front of you.
Overloading of Vehicles
It is unsafe and threat to traffic safety to overload vehicles beyond the specific weight limit. Overloading increases chances to accidents and traffic congestion as well.
Excessive load more than the allowed lengths and weights exposes many risks. It affects the safety of road users and exposes to risks like falling down in the middle of the road as well as well as rising the possibility of collision. It may also lead to explosion of tires and loss of control.
The motorists are advised not to carry any loads contrary to the allowed limit of weight of the vehicle, and to cover the loads not to affect negatively to the environment or the other road users.
The Ministry reminds truck owners that the specified weights which must be adhered to is:
5-axles Truck - 45 tons maximum
4-axles Truck - 42 tons
4-axles Truck (Front) - 37 tons
2-axles Truck - 21 tons
The presence of a fire extinguisher in the vehicle is inevitable to ensure safety. It helps to resist any fire exposed to vehicle, the negligence in this matter should be considered as dangerous that threaten the safety of passengers and motorists.
The validity of the fire extinguisher should be maintained and should be renewed accordingly. Many fire accidents start from minor causes that could be possible to prevent if there were proper fire extinguishers. The absence of extinguisher makes it increasingly worsened and results in significant losses.
MoI is advising all motorists to ensure availability of fire extinguisher ready to use and accessible to everyone in the vehicle as well as take precautions to avoid fire. Do conduct periodic maintenance of electrical wires and replace it in case of damage and not to stop the car near the generators or flammable materials, as well as not to smoke inside the station and the vehicle.
Don't Block Roads for Minor Accidents
It is defined as a distance that the driver of the vehicle must leave vacant between him and the vehicle in front of him. All traffic rules have confirmed its importance and its role in protecting any vehicle from accidents, especially accidents from the rear (minor incidents).
The driver must be careful to leave sufficient safety distance, especially in cases of sudden stop. The safety distance varies according to the circumstances and the driving environment, under normal circumstances should not be less than 5 - 10 meters (estimated)
In the case of rain and wind, the distance shall be multiplied more than twice. It differs in cities unlike the outside areas. The general rule is that increase in speed requires longer safety distance.
Some of the vehicle drivers ignore these rules completely, and some deliberately stick to the car in front of him, ignoring the emergencies that may be exposed to the vehicle or the driver in front of him (such as sudden parking, accident, illness of driver etc.). These behaviors result in a high percentage of minor traffic accidents resulting from rear collision due to insufficient safety distance.
Overtaking through Right Side
Overtaking from the right side is considered as misbehavior, contrary to the rules of traffic. It happens from some drivers without taking into account the rights of others in the road who adhere to the tracks assigned to them. It is widely seen in intersections or signals. This misbehaviour reflects one's selfishness or disregard for others or lack of respect for traffic laws and rules. While some motorists justify such behavior seeing that, the vehicles in front of him or the right or middle track are going very slowly, obstructing traffic.
As it is contrary to traffic rules, the traffic law under Article 43/1 stipulated a violation of QR 500 for this offence.
Parking in the middle of Street
Traffic rules have been developed in order to maintain proper traffic behavior among road users.
Stopping in the middle of the road without any need or for silly reasons is a misbehavior and clear violation of traffic regulation that contradicts the rules and etiquette of traffic and is punishable by law. This misbehavior leads to make congestion and closure of the roads for other users.
The general concept of traffic ethics is to give everyone the right, and therefore all road users must grant each user the right to use road. It happens only through respecting the rules and etiquette of traffic.
Seat Belts Wearing
Seat belt is one of the most important traffic safety shields to reduce injuries and provide safety. It has an effective role in reducing the severity of accidents in the event of compliance with traffic safety rules and observing other regulations and guidelines.
The basic idea of the seat belt is to prevent the driver from hitting the body of the car, or to be rushed out through the windshield when brakes are applied suddenly.
Despite the importance of the seat belt and being aware of all the benefits and availability in all types of cars, many of the motorists do not abide by it.
The violator of this rule will be imposed a fine of QR 500 according to Qatar traffic law.
Driving in Rain
Driving during rainy weather requires extra caution to avoid skidding and road accidents. Driving at a slower pace allows more of the tire's tread to make contact with the road, which leads to better traction.
It takes about three times longer to brake on wet roads than on dry roads. Since more distance is required to brake, it is important not to tailgate. Keep a little more than two car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Rain weather requires you to quietly, smoothly use the controls of your car: steering wheel, brakes, gas pedal.
Don’t drive at speed that does not suit the road’s condition, and make sure you reduce speed when the road is wet.
Be sure that the wipers are in good condition, and clean the windshield and rear window repeatedly.
In case, water vapor gathered on the car windscreen, run the air conditioner to clear it for more visibility.
Avoid overtaking and unnecessary lane-changes and keep safe distance between vehicles.
Driving in Fog
As weather condition changes, people may experience foggy morning in different parts of the country especially on highways. Fog reduces visibility creating hazardous driving conditions and risking your safety. Motorists need to be extra careful while driving in adverse weather conditions. Here are some tips that will help you in safe driving in foggy conditions:
- Slow down your vehicle and drive at a speed that suits the conditions.
- If you have fog lights on your vehicle, use them, in addition to your low beam headlights. High beams reflect off the moisture droplets in the fog, making it harder to see. As well, don’t use emergency flashers as they are meant for emergency stopping only.
- The moisture in the air may continuously collect on the windshield. Use your defroster and wipers to maximize your vision. Keep your windows and mirrors clean.
- Be patient. Avoid passing, overtaking, changing lanes and crossing traffic.
- Use painted road markings to help guide you. Stick to the lane you are driving in and don’t try to drift and wander in the middle of the road.
- Allow more distance between vehicles. You will need extra distance to brake safely.
- Look and listen for any hazards that may be ahead.
- Reduce the distractions in your vehicle. For example, turn off your music/radio. Your full attention is required.
If the fog is too dense to continue, pull completely off the road and try to park your vehicle in safe parking area. Turn on your emergency flashers, in addition to keeping your low-beam headlights on.
Traffic Safety of School Students
Every year, recalling the importance of traffic safety for school students is renewed to ensure an education-year free of accidents and injuries.
The Ministry recommends the drivers of public vehicles, buses and school buses to the importance of following the traffic rules and guidelines, and to be cautious while driving to ensure the safety of students and not to be exposed to traffic accidents. Drivers should take the necessary safety procedures including the conformity of the closure of the door tightly before moving, and avoid excessive speed o roads near or around schools. The bus doors shall not be opened before stopping the buses and the boarding and disembarking of students from buses should be controlled well and carefully.
The Ministry also recommends that school administrators make sure that the students' vehicles supervisors are mindful of the importance of observing students during their trips back and forth from school and instructing them on the right behaviors that ensure their safety and the safety of their colleagues.
Track Changing in Intersections
Moving on the specified road lanes and with stipulated speed limits on both internal and external roads is an important factor to ensure traffic safety. The adherence to the lanes especially at intersections is most important to avoid collisions that happen when changing the tracks from one direction to another direction. The track changing is widely seen in intersections after passing the signals. This is considered as violation of traffic according to the traffic law and regulations.
Drivers should focus on driving when approaching intersections, and should adhere to the specified path and not change it under any circumstances, in order to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and safety of all.
Note that, cameras have been installed near to intersections to monitor such violations. The violations will be subsequently recorded and fines will be imposed on the violating drivers.
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