Times of Oman
Nov 29, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 11:19 AM GMT
Motorists warned to stay safe as severe heatwave grips Oman
May 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Photo - Times files

Muscat: With the mercury climbing, motorists have been warned to take extra care in the soaring temperatures as the heatwave triggers a spate of accidents.

Road safety experts said people going for long drives should take care of their tyres and check their engines to stay safe on the road.

"The hot climate is unavoidable but people can take precautions regarding tyres, as soaring temperatures make blowouts more likely," said Dr Wahid Ali Al Kharusi, President, Oman Road Safety Association.

He also said two cars recently caught fire on way to Sohar. No deaths were, however, reported in any of these either cases.

A spate of cases of vehicle catching fire on the Oman roads has spurred authorities to raise awareness among road users throughout the country.

Motorists have been urged to change oil in their vehicles regularly and ensure that a sufficient coolant is in the radiator. "Drivers should also conduct regular check-ups of their engines, and avoid smoking in their vehicles," he added.

Experts also said that using original parts, especially wires and cables, when performing car maintenance is the key, especially during the summer months when vehicles tend to overheat. "Then, there is a tendency among people to fall asleep during long drives which should be avoided at any cost," he said.

According to experts, heat is the biggest enemy of rubber. "The hotter a tyre runs, the more its tread wears. So people should check their tyres before going out for a long drive," he added.

According to Directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation (DGMAN) temperature has already reached 46° Celsius in places like Fahud, Buraimi, Ibri and Sur.

"The country has started experiencing the impact of heatwave that had developed in Rub Al Khali (the Empty Quarter), a desert that occupies the south western region of Oman, straddling the border with Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Westerly winds coming in from Rub Al Khali have been pushing the temperature up. Besides that, clear skies and hot sunshine is also adding to the hot conditions," an official of DGMAN said.

He also advised taking necessary protective measures before going out. "People should be aware of the seasonal increase in ultraviolet radiation which normally peaks at around 12 noon," he added.

According to the DGMAN forecast, no change is expected in the hot and hazy conditions in the next 48 hours. "But after 48 hours, the temperatures are expected to come down," he said.

He also said that the mercury starts shooting up from the end of May.

"And then it reaches its peak in the summer months of June and July. The temperature rises from time to time, but these high ranges vary and don't stretch for many days," he added.

With the summer peaking, doctors at the private hospitals fear that the number of dehydration and heat exhaustion cases will rise.

'Drink ample water'
"Dehydration is a big problem," said Dr V. C. P. Mohamed, specialist in Internal Medicine at the Atlas Hospital, Ruwi.

He also advised people to wear loose cotton clothes and drink ample amount of water with salt, sugar, and lemon. "People should also avoid going out between 12pm and 3pm," he said.

Then there are problems like heat-burn, hyper acidity, diarrhoea and acute skin disorders. "Many of my patients are suffering from acute skin problems caused due to heat," an ayurvedic doctor in Ruwi said.

Doctors say that it is quite common for the skin to become more sensitive to sunlight exposure and prone to skin rashes, sun burn and pimples because of the direct exposure to sun. "So, people should take adequate care before exposing themselves to sun," they said.

Dr Mohamed also said that people who are in the Middle East for the first time should be extra careful as they are not exposed to such temperatures.

"They should use protective clothes like hats and sunglasses whenever they go out," he said.

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