What do you do when you hear your phone beeping while you’re driving?
If you are not prepared to ignore that message coming through, you will be facing a potential fine of Dh800 and four black points on your license.
Gulf News reported in April that more than 16,000 motorists were fined in Dubai alone for using their phones while driving in just the first three months of this year.
But these old bad habits die very hard.
Amal Yaqoob, who’s a sales executive based in Sharjah, is one of those who would pick up the phone, check the text message and respond, all while driving.
She told Gulf News: “If a person is calling me, I cannot ignore it. I also use the phone to take pictures, listen to music or navigation.”
She openly confesses to only doing so when she’s stuck in traffic and even though she knows it is dangeorus, she just cannot stop.
She once even hit a dog because she was distracted.
She said: “I was so scared, but thankfully the dog was fine. This was three months ago, and since then I have cut down on the habit.”
Larith Adiyeri, who’s a sales officer based in Sharjah, drives a lot for work. So, if he receives a call, he has to answer.
He said: “I cannot ignore calls if I’m driving from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi — that is two hours. Clients don’t wait. My field is competitive.”
His wife has reportedly asked him to stop several times, and he says he understands her concern. To try and reduce the risk, he now uses bluetooth.
He said: “Accidents can happen in a fraction of a second, I understand the consequences.”
Muzaffar Ali, a sales executive based in Sharjah, claims to be in a similar situation. He has to respond to work emails immediately.
He said: “That is usually why I do it, or sometimes I will answer a call from a family member.”
But, on speaking to him further, he confessed to listening to music on his phone. Aware of all the consequences, he has decided to reduce the habit.
A leasing officer based in Dubai, Jeffrey Pascual, has found a way around this activity by using Siri, a smart application that works based on voice commands.
Pascual said: “I ask the application to read out my messages and even command it to type for me. It is an innovative way to go hands-free.”
In Pascual’s opinion, every second counts and checking your phone while driving is similar to a matter of “life and death”.