Saturday, April 09, 2011

The fog did NOT do it!

Sitting here in the UK on a crystal clear early evening I thought I'd have a quick look at Gulf News before we find a nice village pub for dinner.

The morning we left Dubai was when the latest multi-vehicle pile up was reported, a story that has legs, as they say. I found it still being talked about in today's online GN, proof yet again that criminally moronic drivers are not being blamed for our too-frequent road carnage in bad weather.

There's an article headlined  "Timeline: crashes caused by poor visibility"

The latest big crash was "caused by heavy morning fog" we're assured.

The other eight crashes listed were also caused by the "foggy weather conditions and poor visibility"

Not, you note, by terminally stupid drivers travelling at 140kph in 50 metre visibility.

I know I've gone on about this several times in the past but I really do need to keep repeating myself. What chance is there of ever changing these driving habits when those responsible for the carnage are excused because it wasn't their fault, it was the fog's.

Note to Gulf News - the fog wasn't driving the vehicles at insane speeds. The fog wasn't driving too close to the vehicle in front.  The fog did not cause the crashes.

The crash, the death, the injuries were all caused by the drivers.

The drivers, not the weather.

Weather drives cars says Gulf News.



Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Try the comments on this piece then:

Anonymous said...

If you're going to be fussy and specific as you seem to like to do than it would be incorrect to suppose the drivers caused the incident. Rather, the vehicles or even physics would be responsible. I might be wrong, but I don't suppose that the pile-up was of human bodies but rather of vehicles that had been influenced by humans with poor driving decision-making skills. Likewise the fog didn't make the drivers slam into each other but it may have made the environment slightly more vulnerable to such an event.

Anonymous said...

I have been itching to send a letter to GN - which would go unpublished - regarding the same!
People don't want to take responsibility for thier actions and frankly if you were in that wreck you should have your driving record scrutinized!

Gulf News seems to always miss the point. The very first thing they reported on was the nationalities of the drivers, as that was somehow going to be an indicator, had emiratis not been in the majority i am sure some nationalities would have been singled out and labelled the cause of all bad driving.

For months they milked that 4 year old girl story, got everyone riled up; only to write a sort of dismissive story when the three innocent men were acquitted and not only that, the parents were alleged to be frauds - who should be prosecuted, no follow up there!

Anonymous said...

Exactly. The latest big crash was caused by DRIVERS OVERSPEEDING.

Mich said...

It seems that there is no stopping this arrogance in drivers here. There is no value to human life, the driver for his/her own or for the people around him/her. It is a catastrophe that will happen "due to the fog" every single year... :-(

Seabee said...

riverjumper, you should raise the subject at one of your psychology and sociology classes to see what the others think.

From where I'm standing "the vehicles or even physics would NOT be responsible.

Also from where I'm standing
"vehicles that had been influenced by humans with poor driving decision-making skills" is a long-winded way of saying what I said - the drivers caused the crashes.

Anonymous said...

The point I'm trying to make is that there are greater environmental factors at play in events like these crashes than just "terminally stupid drivers" with terrible "driving habits". Your post seemed to be committing the fundamental attribution error.

Seabee said...

Yes, riverjumper, environmental factors such as thick fog were indeed in play. But they were not the cause of the crashes. Terminally stupid drivers ignoring the environmental factor of not being able to see more than fifty metres but making the decision to travel at 140kph in it were the cause.

Not the car, not the fog, not the slippery road, not the low visibility. The drivers who took no account of those factors caused the crashes. The crashes are attributed to them, it's not an attribution error.

Doug said...

The most obvious point to make is that many other countries in this world experience brief periods of thick fog but when these happen very rarely have multi-car pile-ups as a result.

The problem is there are two significant driving styles prevelent in the UAE. These do cut across all ages and demographics (although the outrageous racist in me says that they're particularly prevelent in certain ones).

One driving style is the plain incompentant. They don't know how to use indicators, they'd don't really fully understand speed limits, and the entire concept of 'lanes' is simply too complicated. These people are bad drivers because they simply haven't been taught any better.

The other driving style is 'the Transporter'. These people know about lanes and lights (especially main beams) and are perfectly normal individuals until they are placed behind a steering wheel, where suddenly they are convinced they are Jason Statham or Vin Diesel. They are convinced that the normal rules of the road don't apply to them (generally, with good reason!) and also believe that wasta has the ability to bend the laws of physics.

These two driving styles make up the majority of drivers in the UAE. They don't in many other countries. They're a recipe for disaster and because they're generally used to the idea that the road will always be dry with high visibility, the moment this changes, their ability to survive by the skin of their teeth slips the moment conditions change.

shelo said...

i wholeheartedly agree with your post.

The drivers here seem to have had no training on how to deal with weather conditions other than sunny and have no idea with the fog lights are. They believe going fast, using hazard lights and then changing lanes is a great idea.

I wonder how long it will take for the RTA in the UAE to get their act together and start educating these drivers.

Gerry said...

blaming anything but the drivers here is absolutely missing the point. yes, the fog created dangerous conditions. but those conditions are entirely survivable as long as the drivers aren't stupid.

unfortunately, here in the uae....