(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Tue 21 Nov 2023, 11:55 AM
Last updated: Tue 21 Nov 2023, 1:06 PM
UAE residents, who have been cocooned indoors all summer, are all geared up to explore the lesser-travelled wadis, enjoy off-roading and go desert camping. But authorities in the UAE are urging community members to remember and pay attention to the rules.
To enhance safety and preserve the wildlife, Ras Al Khaimah Police have reminded people of stringent penalties for individuals engaging in dangerous driving activities in the dunes.
Offenders face a hefty fine of Dh2,000, along with 23 traffic black points, and a potential 60 days of imprisonment. These consequences apply to anyone found driving a vehicle in a manner that jeopardises their own safety, as well as the safety and security of others, or poses a threat to public or private facilities.
Wilderness, and desert areas are not to be treated as venues for reckless behaviour, noise disturbances, or chaos. Authorities emphasise that driving recklessly, without regard for safety and responsibility, within these natural spaces will incur severe penalties.
The government has established designated spaces for recreational activities, racing, and energy release, specifically designed to cater to the public's need for fun and excitement. Residents are urged to utilise these specially created zones, ensuring a safer and more controlled environment for recreational pursuits while respecting the peace and harmony of wild landscapes.
These reminders come as after Sharjah Police's decision to officially close the Al Faya dunes area in the emirate's central region, in the wake of a tragic inciden on November 17, where an Asian youth lost his life in an off-roading accident.
Fraser M. Martin, a professional driver, writer and restorer of model cars, said there's one hallowed rule for drivers: "Remember that the best off-roaders are the ones who can do it the slowest without getting stuck - if you want to go fast across the desert, apply to Etihad Rail."
Most drivers might be unaware of the rules and the risks involved in off-roading. It is an adventure sport and needs specific skills, but enthusiasts often continue to traipse woefully unprepared.
Shibu Nair is an expert off-roader from Titan Performance, who said: "It [off-roading] is an adventure sport, and safety along with experience plays a vital role when you hit a trail. Do not push your limits and always drive within your ability."
Basic rules of off-roading:
Tame the devil-may-care attitude and never go off-roading alone for safety and practical reasons. Go in a group or with at least one seasoned off-roader in a separate car to avoid tricky situations like pulling a vehicle out when stuck in the sand. Plan the route - don't just drive off without an agenda and a planned track. Before hitting the trails, it is crucial to ensure your vehicle is trail-worthy. Regular off-roaders will intimately know their vehicle and its equipment, but part-timers and the inexperienced might need a refresher on what their car can do. Ensure you have enough rest before you hit the accelerator and you are in the suitable medical condition to attempt off-roading. Often people neglect that it is an extreme sport that may have a massive impact on you if appropriate precautions are not taken. Take pictures and leave tracks - nothing else. If you plan on camping in the desert, you must know how to take back the trash you bring in.
Emong Ang, one of the leaders of PWR52 Offroaders (Pinoy Pajero Club UAE), said: "Leave your ego at home, or else it might end up hurting you or someone else. No need to be competitive as there are events specifically for that."
Emong, who often carries out desert clean-up drive with other off-roaders, said it's essential to make arrangements to take your trash with you. What are the other essential things drivers must keep in mind for a safe trip.
Essential kits every off-roader must-have:
Carry your first-aid box to treat any cuts or wounds Keep a shovel and a flat, strong board on which to safely place a jack if you need to change a wheel. Recovery equipment like shackles (preferably soft shackles) Spare tyre Air compressor Jumper cables Basic tool kit Fire extinguisher Ensure that you carry more water than you think you will need Tow rope either Kinetic or snatch strap, but at least one is essential
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