ABU DHABI // Traffic was smooth in the capital on Sunday morning as hundreds of thousands of pupils returned to school after a three-week holiday.
Abu Dhabi Police monitored roads around schools to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion and there were no reports of major road accidents.
“Traffic was manageable and everything was under control,” Col Jamal Al Ameri, head of public relations at Abu Dhabi Police’s traffic and patrols directorate. “Today we are lucky that traffic was relatively smooth on the first day of school.”
Parents should not park indiscriminately near school gates, especially in designated drop off and pick up points for school buses.
“They should set out on the school run earlier than normal to avoid traffic jams in roads around schools,” Col Al Ameri said.
“When they are on the road in a school zone, they should stick to their lane, keep a safe distance between their cars and the vehicle in front, and avoid swerving. When they reach the school, they should drop off their children in a safe area and be mindful of pedestrians.”
School bus drivers must adhere to traffic laws, speed limits and maintain a safe distance to keep children safe when they are on and around the bus.
“The main concern we face with school bus drivers is that they fail to keep a safe distance between the bus and a vehicle in front, which often results in an accident,” Col Al Ameri.
Latif Abubaaker, 40, who drives a school bus for Al Nahda National School for Girls, said traffic was heavy in Mushrif, where a number of schools are located, early in the morning.
“Police were present to make sure the roads were safe and traffic was running smoothly this morning,” he said. “I’m carrying 24 children so I should drive safely and follow all the rules.”
However, he hoped parents who drop off and pick up their children to and from school would be more considerate.
“They must avoid blocking traffic near the school entrance and exit points,” Mr Abubaker said.
Parents should be mindful of bad weather during the winter months, especially fog, and leave for school at least 30 minutes later.
“Parents who drop off their children to school in the morning should consider postponing their trip by 30 minutes to one hour until the fog clears,” Col Al Ameri said. “Although we did not experience dense fog this morning, but they should keep in mind our safety message in the future.”