Ramadan starts today (10th July) – the ninth month of the Islamic calendar where Muslims around the world observe a month of fasting as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
During the month, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, refraining from eating food, smoking, drinking liquids, swearing and engaging in sexual conduct (except for the ill, travelling, pregnant, diabetic or menstruating) whilst offering up extra prayers and reading more Quran.
And although it does not stop those observing this religious festival from driving, there are inherent problems with fasting that could affect those wishing to drive; so the Institute of Advanced Motorists have offered up some driving tips for Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.
As IAM chief executive Simon Best says: “Fasting has an impact on driving - in the Gulf states accidents increase during Ramadan. That’s why the IAM is urging drivers to be a little more cautious, especially just before Iftar. ( The evening meal when Muslims break their fast during Ramadan.) I send everyone celebrating Eid-Ul-Fitr and the holy month of Ramadan my very best wishes.”
If you are planning to drive, allow time in your daily schedule to sleep well, exercise regularly and eat your meals at a consistent time; and if you feel sleepy before driving, take a nap for no more than 20 minutes.
If you do feel sleepy while driving, pull over immediately to a safe and legal place and take a short nap. Contrary to popular misconception, you can’t ‘drive through tiredness’. And when you wake up after a nap, get out of your car and walk about in the fresh air; not only to wake you up a bit more but to improve your circulation too!
Lack of food and drink will make you irritable. Remember this when dealing with other drivers and be more courteous and patient with other road users than you already are.
Make sure that you give yourself plenty of extra time to arrive at your destination on hen driving home for Iftar – don’t speed. It’s more important that you get there than be on time. Don’t make the mistake of rushing home.
And finally, if you can’t cope with the inevitable tiredness (and irritability) that comes with lack of food and drink, think about using public transport or asking a friend for a lift. Alternatively, if your journey is not too far, perhaps go on foot?
As Simon Best said, enjoy the festival – and drive carefully.