ABU DHABI // The UAE has been named the sixth best place to drive among 38 nations by traffic app Waze, according to the results of a study that are certain to raise eyebrows among drivers in the country.
The findings are contradicted by the World Health Organisation, which found that motorists were three times more likely to die in a car in the UAE than in the UK, which ranked 17th.
Waze, a community mapping and navigation smartphone app, ranked 38 countries that had more than 20,000 monthly users providing data to their mobile app.
The WHO’s Global Status Report on road safety, published last year, found 10.9 road fatalities per 100,000 people in the UAE compared to the UK’s 2.9, Spain at 3.7 and Italy at 6.1 per 100,000.
Mark Azzam, who has driven in the UAE, Italy and Spain, said he was surprised by the study’s result.
“It’s not the infrastructure that’s the problem, it’s more the attitude of people. The tailgating here is really bad and it’s dangerous,” said Mr Azzam.
Waze based the countries’ ratings on categories such as road quality, drivers services, traffic, as well as a category called “Wazeyness” or the “happiness and thankfulness of Waze users”.
Despite being great news for traffic safety officials in the country, the ranking of the UAE so high on the list was a surprise for commuters.
What allowed the UAE to shine on the Waze index was its perfect score in the road safety category, which was defined as quality of road and infrastructure on highways.
“The UAE is a great country to drive in and the infrastructure is great. I find the roads amazing,” Mr Azzam said, “but people need to be punished more harshly for road infractions”.
On other categories, the UAE had no data to provide, namely drivers’ services rating, which is defined as the density of car services such as gas stations and parking.
However, when it came to Wazeyness, or the customer satisfaction rating, the UAE scored 2.43 out of 10.
M M, who commutes from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, was also surprised by the survey’s results.
“It’s stressful, and while I do agree that the roads here are very good, I wouldn’t say that it is a satisfying experience, not in the least bit,” said the Indian national.
“Have you ever tried to drive on the fast lane here going under the speed limit?” said M M.
In the first half of this year, the number of fatal road accidents in Dubai rose to 112, a 45 per cent increase from the same period last year.
The number of traffic incidents decreased from 1,526 last year to 1,037 this year.
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