Driving in a Sandstorm in Saudi
From snowy cold winters to hot muggy summers; hails and floods, blinding sandstorms, and scorching drought, Saudi vast lands surely experience some of the planet’s most diverse weather conditions!
Earlier this month, a massive sandstorm spurred on by high winds hit the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Due to the nature of Saudi sandstorms are frequent in the Kingdom, and they peak in the summertime in particular. A sandstorm happens when winds strengthen to the point where they’re able to carry sand off the ground and blow it through the air. When a sandstorm strikes, high winds hit, temperatures drop and dust engulfs everything. As a result, car drivers cannot see very far ahead, and car accidents become an even greater possibility than normal.
Accordingly, the General Traffic Department warned drivers to take the necessary precautions while on the road, along with several insurance companies in Saudi Arabia who shared tips and advice for driving safely during a sandstorm.
Driving in bad weather conditions
Every bad weather condition poses a challenge to drivers, sandstorm is no exception. Undoubtedly, driving a car during a sandstorm is just as dangerous as driving in heavy rain. Even if you’re an experienced driver, driving in a sandstorm is quite the challenge; because heavy dust decreases visibility, limits contrast affects perception. Thus, leading to many car accidents annually.
Why is visibility important when driving?
Visibility and being aware of your surroundings are key when driving — drivers should be able to see clearly and be seen. With low visibility, drivers might be unable to see far ahead, notice other cars, traffic signs, objects, or even the pedestrians on the road.
During poor weather conditions, you should remain alert and be extremely cautious to avoid accidents. WHO’s World Report on road traffic injury prevention highlights the importance of visibility on the road. These findings suggest 3 types of accidents increase when visibility decreases:
- Pedestrian accidents
- Rear-end collsion
- Overtaking accidents
The best way to avoid being in a sandstorm-related incident is to stay off of the road. In reality, the weather can change dramatically over a short period of time, and when it comes to sandstorms; they occur in a blink of an eye! So if you happen to be on the road, here is what you should do to stay safe and prevent car accidents:
How to prevent accidents during a sandstorm in Saudi?
From staying informed to driving carefully, there’s a lot you can do to minimize the risk during a sandstorm in Saudi.
- Listen to weather updates and advisories on the radio, or check the forecast of the National Center of Meteorology before leaving the house, or traveling to another city.
- Stay off of your phone — reduce all distractions and stay alert.
- Roll up your windows and disable outside air intake mode on your AC; Otherwise, you will be letting in all the dust from outside into your car.
- Leave plenty of space between your car and the one in front of you.
- Use your beam lights instead of hazard lights; warning lights can confuse other drivers making them think you are stopped or stalled.
- Avoid driving near dunes on open roads. During a blast, the powerful winds can sweep a large amount of sand and dust into the road.
- During the blast of the sandstorm. Stay calm, slow down, and assess the situation.
- If possible stay off highways and main roads to avoid any risk.
Remember, good traffic habits always pay off – you may even earn a no-claim discount from your insurance company!
What to do after a car accident?
Having a car accident, especially with harsh weather conditions can be stressful, yet it’s important to try to stay calm and focused. Your priority is safety; ensure everyone is well and get yourself and your car out of danger. Next, follow these steps after a car accident in Saudi:
- Report Najm if you carry a valid car insurance policy
- Use Najm application to document the accident and take pictures.
- Prepare offical papers. Namely driving license, vehicle registration (istimara), and car insurance policy.
Don’t leave the accident scene before Najm arrives. — However, keeping your car in the middle of the road could cause another traffic accident. Instead, carefully drive your car to the side of the road so it doesn’t impede traffic.
As soon as Najm officer arrives, they’ll be able to determine fault and issue the accident report. Right after this, you can:
- Visit “Taqdeer” center to get estimates and pricing for your car damages
- Submit a claim to the insurance company
- Get your compensation
Following these steps guarantees repairing your car damage, or compensating your loss. You have rights if the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement for your car accident; here’s the right way to handle a dispute with your insurance.
Does comprehensive insurance in Saudi cover sandstorms too?
Comprehensive car insurance in Saudi Arabia covers weather-related damages like those caused by sandstorms. However, it’s crucial to review your policy specifics to confirm if wind damage/ falling objects are explicitly mentioned as part of the coverage. To ensure you’re fully covered against unexpected events, it’s best to check your policy details or consider comparing car insurance prices and coverages online in Saudi. This way, you can explore different options and find the best coverage that suits your needs. Start comparing now to secure the best insurance for your peace of mind