Catastrophic accidents involving vehicles and stray animals in the UAE aren’t too uncommon. And unfortunately, almost all of these result in loss of life. It was not so different this time as well, when a Nissan Patrol struck an adult camel in Ras Al Khaimah. The accident happened during the daytime on the Al Dagdaga Road. The collision with the camel was strong enough to crush part of the Patrol’s bonnet, windshield and the front portion of the roof. Thankfully, the driver survived the impact, though the animal wasn’t as lucky.
Stray animals wandering on the roads in certain parts of the UAE has been a common sight. These animals, including the likes of camels, donkeys, cows, horses and goats pose a major hazard for motorists. Impacts with camels are particularly dangerous as they tend to land on a car’s bonnet and/or windshield. Standing at over six feet tall and weighing in at approximately half a tonne, most of a camel’s mass is high up on its body. This is the reason why an impact tends to knock them off their feet, as the car slides underneath and literally scoops the animal.
Drivers of smaller vehicles such as hatchbacks and sedans face a graver risk as opposed to those driving a large SUV. Since many of these accidents usually happen in remote areas, drivers are caught off guard, especially if it is in the night. The remoteness of the locations also leads motorists to drive faster than usual, thereby increasing the force of impact and reducing the time to react. In this case, the driver of the Patrol was unable to react expeditiously enough to avoid the collision. However, because the Nissan Patrol is quite a large SUV, the high frontend reduced the chances of the camel from landing on the roof, which would have resulted in a very different outcome for the driver.
Furthermore, the generally sturdy build of the vehicle meant that its frontal contact points could bear the brunt of the impact. Despite all that, it is clear that the camel still ended up striking the bonnet, windshield and even the high roof of the Patrol after the collision. Authorities in Ras Al Khaimah are far too familiar with such incidents, and a few years back in 2015, had even constructed a special underpass for camels. The northern emirate has become a hotspot for accidents involving stray camels, though the authorities have been actively trying to prevent more mishaps.
Many a times, owners of animals such as camels, horses, donkeys etc. are chiefly to blame. According to local authorities, the owners are responsible for allowing their animals to wander around on public roads, thus endangering the lives of motorists and the animal itself. If caught, owners can be fined up to AED 2,000 for allowing their animals to put motorists at risk on highways. In spite of such penalties, authorities said that many of them purposefully cut the fences which are supposed to prevent the animals from entering the roads in the first place.
The Ras Al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre reported that it has been inundated with calls from concerned motorists after spotting stray animals on the roads. The concerns are valid, as we now know how terrible these collisions can be – sometimes, for both the parties involved. There have been some cases in the recent past where the impacts with camels have been so powerful, that they have claimed human lives as well. Authorities in Ras Al Khaimah continue to urge motorists to pay even more attention on the road, and to keep a lookout for wandering animals that may pose a safety hazard.