Go slow through the fast: GEM safety warning during Ramadan
AS THE holy month of Ramadan continues, GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging observers to make road safety a priority as they spend long days abstaining from food and drink.
The holy month is a time of spiritual reflection for Muslims, who are required to avoid eating or drinking anything between sunrise and sunset every day until Ramadan ends. This will be at sundown on 4 June.
Unfortunately, Ramadan has also been a period associated with an increased risk of road crashes across the Muslim world. The majority of these crashes occur around sunset, when so many people rush home from work or mosques to attend the traditional Iftar meal.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth warns of the risks that go with driving after such long periods without nourishment. “These risks are at their greatest because Ramadan occurs in summer, so participants face a very long period each day without food or water.
“The UK’s northernmost mosque is in Stornoway, and practising Muslims here will be fasting between 4.31am and 10.16pm in the last days of Ramadan – a period of almost 18 hours. Even in London, the fasting is only slightly shorter: 4.49am to 9.08pm.
“These extended periods of fasting impact diet and digestion, which in turn can affect sleeping patterns. There is an inevitable follow-on in driving behaviour, particularly at the end of the day when people are likely to be hurrying home for the Iftar meal.”
GEM has issued the following road safety tips to reduce danger on the roads during Ramadan:
• If you drive for a living, you MUST take extreme care, especially as the weather is likely to be very warm and dehydration is a serious risk. If you feel tired, dizzy or weak, then you will not be able to concentrate on driving safely and you must stop to rest.
• Fatigue is a significant risk. Recognise the early symptoms and don’t try to fight them.
• Plan your schedule so you don’t have to rush anywhere to be home for food and drink.
• Be more patient to other people on the road who may be in the same situation as you.
• Don’t drive during the night. With only six hours between sunset and sunrise, you must save the time for good rest.
• Take more frequent breaks on long distance journeys.
GEM has produced a short video on the dangers of fatigue, with tips on staying safe. Visit www.motoringassist.com/fatigue
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