The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has offered tips on a wide range of travel-related issues in view of the upcoming holiday season.
The advisory, “Tips for Safe Travel”, lists a series of dos and don’ts for people who would travel in the coming weeks to ensure their safety.
Official documents: To begin with, the advisory urges travellers to ensure that their passports are valid for at least six months and obtain a visa on time. “Some embassies in Qatar require the signature of children aged 10 years or more on the passport,” it notes. One should also confirm the validity of official documents such as the ID card, driver’s licence, car ownership card and debit/credit cards.
“Always keep official documents and personal valuables in a safe and secure place while travelling. Do not pawn your passport or ID card to any party in any way,” the advisory further states. In case of any problem, one must immediately inform the nearest diplomatic mission of his/her country and notify officials about the problem in detail.
Travellers have also been advised to arrange for an international driver’s licence as the transit system in some countries does not allow a foreigner to drive unless he/she carries a licence issued by those countries.
“Get the international customs transit book (Triptyque) as this will serve as a guarantor in front of the Customs authorities of countries through which you pass or stop during your journey. Some Arab states require the Triptyque for passing through their territory,” the MoI has said, adding that one should keep a copy of the passport and visa as this may help in case the originals go missing. This may be done by saving copies of both in one’s email.
Travellers should also collect the address and telephone numbers of the embassies/consulates of their country located in their travel destinations. This will help them in case of any emergency, the advisory adds.
Awareness and caution: The MoI has advised travellers to be extra cautious about the situation around them – at hotels, airports, markets, etc – in order to ensure personal security and safety.
“Please avoid mingling with unknown persons while travelling,” the advisory says. “Please avoid carrying jewellery or any valuables unnecessarily with you during the travel period. Keep your money in a purse and ensure it is available at its place constantly.”
Travellers have also been advised to avoid using illegal taxis and visiting suspicious localities. They should act as ambassadors of their country, follow the rules and regulations of the host country as well as aviation laws, and not carry prohibited items.
If accompanied by domestic workers, the sponsor must enquire about their visas and procedures in this regard.
The advisory also reminds travellers to ask security agencies for necessary legal approvals to conduct a search at the place where they are staying in the host country if such a situation arises.
“In case there is an investigation in any case, you must report to the State Mission as soon as possible,” the MoI has said, adding that people should “carry currencies consistent with instructions of the host country” and excessive cash is required to be declared before Customs officers.
Securing the house before travel: The MoI has advised travellers to ensure that they lock the doors of their house properly – by using one or more high-quality locks – before leaving. They must not leave money, jewellery or other valuables inside and should instead deposit them in a bank.
People should also switch off the electric switchboard, gas pipelines and main water valve before leaving their house. Relatives or neighbours could be requested to pass by the house at intervals during the travel period to ensure their safety.
Safety tips for travel by road: The advisory also includes safety tips for those travelling by road, some of which were published in Gulf Times yesterday based on information obtained from the ministry’s Facebook page.
One should ensure the capacity of his/her vehicle by getting a comprehensive technical test done before starting the trip. “Check the validity and safety standard of your vehicle’s tyres and replace them if needed,” it notes.
Other safety measures include wearing seatbelts throughout the trip as this can prevent injuries and fatalities, always keeping a first-aid kit and a functional fire extinguisher in the vehicle as well as keeping a set of spare key(s).
Travellers should keep a route map of the country they are visiting and not allow the fuel level to dip below the halfway mark, the advisory states, noting that children should be made to sit in the rear seat only.
Overloading a vehicle can be dangerous for its occupants and pose a risk to the lives of others. It can also lead to accidents and impeding the driver’s vision and freedom of movement, the MoI has said.
One should not accompany unknown persons while travelling or carry any kind of luggage or bags given by such unknown persons.
The advisory has urged travellers to follow traffic signs and boards put up along the road to ensure a safe journey, avoid getting fatigued before starting a trip as tired motorists are often involved in serious accidents on highways, switch driving duties with others (holding a valid licence) every one or two hours if possible, make several halts to get adequate rest during long trips and remain cautious while approaching areas where animal movement is expected, especially at night.
“If you feel drowsy, immediately stop your vehicle and resume your journey only after giving yourself some rest. Then, continue your travel peacefully and safely and avoid driving during the late hours of the night as much as possible,” it adds.
Driving in emergency situations (rain, fog and dust): In such conditions, motorists have been advised to reduce the speed as much as possible, drive the vehicle on the right side of the road, use wipers if it is raining, switch on the dim lights, not to overtake and maintain enough distance from the vehicle in front.
If a vehicle has to be stopped due to poor visibility or for other factors, one should stay off the road and switch on the hazard lights. Also, s/he should strictly avoid sudden braking without giving signals in advance.
The advisory has been issued by the MoI’s Public Relations Department.
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