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COVID-19: 5 things motorists in the UAE need to know

With movement restrictions gradually being lifted, many people are now going back to the office after weeks of working from home. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions, and our advice on how to stay safe while you slowly resume your day to day activities.

Contactless payment options are catching on quite quickly at fuel stations. Many service centers and workshops remain open but most, such as authorized dealerships, in particular, require customers to make appointments The good news is the need for the RTA renewal physical test at an RTA approved center is suspended until July so you don’t need to worry about the logistics of getting your car to a registration center

Author: Matthew Davidson, Head of dubizzle pro

In the past few months, COVID-19 has changed the traditional way that the world works. With movement restrictions gradually being lifted, many people are now going back to the office after weeks of working from home while closely following physical distancing directives from the government. This, along with the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s (MOHAP) sterilization drive, has had a big impact on the number of cars we’re seeing on the roads.

However, this raises many questions for drivers and car owners across the country, from refueling and servicing safely, through to renewing registrations and buying a new car. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions, and our advice on how to stay safe while you slowly resume your day to day activities.

  1. How can you stay safe when refueling at a petrol station?

Contactless payment options are catching on quite quickly at fuel stations. ENOC’s ‘EnocPay’, and ADNOC’s Mobile Pay applications both allow for remote payment. The driver can simply enter the site and pump number details while an attendant assists with the refueling. Once this is complete, the driver can pay via the app without having to get out of the car or hand over a physical card or cash to the attendant, which are great options to reduce contact. Fuel delivery services such as CAFU are also available. They will come to you and refuel your vehicle at your location. The payment is done via the app so all you need to do is leave your fuel cap open and they will do the rest.

  1. Can you still get your car serviced?

Many service centers and workshops remain open but most, such as authorized dealerships, in particular, require customers to make appointments; while walk-in services are becoming more limited. To encourage people to stay home, many garages around the country are offering pick-up and drop-off services for vehicles, and service centers are carrying out disinfection and using disposable steering wheel and seat covers. 

Read: Life after lockdown: tourism in a post-pandemic world

  1. What if your car is due for insurance and registration renewal?

The good news is the need for the RTA renewal physical test at an RTA approved center is suspended until July so you don’t need to worry about the logistics of getting your car to a registration center. You simply buy or renew your insurance online then go to the RTA website or app to renew your vehicle registration.

  1. Is now a good time to buy a new car?

If you’re looking to buy a car, then don’t let the current situation stop you. Now that the car market is open again, many dealers and showrooms still have great offers following Ramadan, so it’s a perfect time to conduct some research to find the right car and deal for you. Check out car reviews on YouTube and specs on automotive websites to make an informed decision. If you’re keen on seeing the car in person, showrooms are now open and practicing safety guidelines issued by the Government.

  1. Is it safe to use a valet parking service? 

In the latest announcement by Dubai Economy, it has made it mandatory for valet parking staff to wear change their gloves and sanitize their hands after every car valet service. While disposable covers have to be used on car seats and steering wheels. It’s mandatory for staff to wear protective face shields if they come into direct contact with customers. Last but not least, parking attendants should keep the AC on for sometime before handing the car back to the guests (while keeping the doors and windows open) in order to ensure proper air circulation.

Above all, remember that the road can wait. Stay home. If you fall into the category of essential workers who are still driving themselves to and from work each day, or if you have recently returned to the office, we would advise that you clean your car’s interior much more regularly than you would otherwise. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like steering wheels, door handles, shift levers and armrests, and avoid touching your face between each cleaning. Stay safe and do your part to curb the spread of the virus.

Read: Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot merger now under investigation