The head-on collision between two cars occurred in the Qatbit area just before Thumrait leading to the deaths of four Omanis and an equal number of expatriates. “The accident took place in Qatbit on the Adam-Salalah highway at 11.30pm. Both saloon cars collided head-on. One car was carrying three citizens. Five persons including four Asian nationals were travelling in the other car - a taxi. Six persons died on the spot and two died while being transferred to the nearest hospital,” Capt Mohammed bin Salam al Hashami from the Directorate General of Public Relations, ROP, said.
Altogether 19 persons have died on this stretch in one and a half months. The Adam-Thumrait-Salalah single carriageway becomes one of the busiest roads in the country in the khareef season as many domestic and foreign tourists flock to Dhofar via land routes. Apart from cars, heavy vehicles including inter-city buses, trailer trucks and oil tankers ply on this route.
As a result, experts have asked drivers to be more cautious and avoid night driving especially those using the road for the first time. “It is important that a safe driving protocol is followed by drivers to prevent accidents. Being a single carriageway, there is no margin for error. We advise drivers to avoid night driving as there are no street lights on many parts of the road,” Ali al Barwani, CEO, Oman Road Safety Association (ORSA), told Muscat Daily.
Barwani said that most of the accidents have taken place at night. “We are eagerly waiting for the completion of expansion works on the Adam-Thumrait highway which will go a long way in reducing accidents.”
Apart from avoiding night driving, Barwani said there is a need for awareness campaigns on safe driving practices and strict implementation of traffic laws. “Accidents on the Salalah road can be prevented or at least be minimised if road users become more careful. There is a need to reduce the speed limits to prevent accidents. People also need to have a good rest in between as fatigue is a major issue. If people can take precautions, there is no harm in driving. Travellers can even fly to Salalah as there are many flights available nowadays,” he said.
Barwani, who is in Salalah to launch road safety campaign on Tuesday, commended efforts by ROP, the public and private sectors in creating awareness. “From Tuesdayto Friday, we will be educating people about safe driving practices at Mall of Salalah in coordination with ROP, PDO, Orpic and Oman LNG.”
The ROP too has said that it has made arrangements to curb road accidents during Salalah Tourism Festival. “We urged motorists to be cautious and not over speed especially while driving to and from Salalah,” an ROP official said.