The Public Relations Department at the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has issued an advisory in a bid to ensure the safety and security of travellers during the summer.
The advisory contains a wide range of awareness tips, which are as follows:
* Official documents
The advisory has asked travellers to make sure that their passports are valid for at least six months and they should obtain a visa on time. “Some embassies in Qatar require the signature of children aged 10 years or more on the passport,” it says, asking people to confirm the validity of official documents such as the ID card, driving licence, car ownership card and debit/credit cards.
The advisory further urges residents to 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," it says, adding that in case of any problem, "you must immediately inform the nearest diplomatic mission of your country and notify the officials about the problem in detail".
The MoI also advises travellers 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 before 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 advisory says. People should also keep a copy of their passport and visa of the country of they are visiting as this will help them in case the passport goes missing. This may be done through saving the copies of both documents in one's email.
“Travellers should also collect the address and telephone numbers of the embassies/consulates of their countries in the countries where they intend to travel. This will help them in case of any emergency,” the advisory adds.
* Securing the house before travel
The advisory has urged travellers to ensure that their houses are properly locked by using one or more high-quality locks. It also asks not to keep money, jewellery or other valuables inside the house and, instead, advises them to deposit such items in the bank.
"Before leaving the house, please switch off the electric switchboard, gas pipelines and main water valve," the advisory points out. Also, residents could request their relatives or neighbours to keep an eye on their house and pass by it at regular inervals to ensure their safety.
* Awareness and caution during travel
The MoI has urged people to be "extra cautious" about the situation around them "as it is the basis of maintaining your personal security and safety while travelling". "You should be conscious everywhere, whether at hotels, airports or markets," it says, adding: "please avoid mingling with unknown persons while travelling."
People should also avoid carrying jewellery or valuables unnecessarily during the travel period. "Keep your money in a purse and ensure it is available there constantly," the advisory notes. Also, people should avoid using illegal taxis to go from one place to another.
"Throughout your travel, act as an ambassador of your country and avoid suspicious localities. Obey the rules and regulations of the host country and the terms of global aviation systems," the advisory continues, stressing that people should not carry prohibited items.
If accompanied by domestic workers and companions, the sponsor must enquire about their visas and procedures in this regard, the advisory says.
If security agencies in the host country have to inspect a traveller's place of residence there, s/he should ask them if they have obtained the necessary permission from the judicial authorities to conduct such a search.
In the event of an investigation into any case, one must report to the State mission as soon as possible.
"Carry currencies consistent with instructions of the host country," the advisory adds. Excessive cash has to be declared before the Customs authorities.
*Car safety tips
The MoI has advised people to ensure the capacity of their vehicle by conducting a comprehensive technical test well ahead of their trip and also check the safety and validity of the tyres. “Wear a seatbelt throughout the trip as it can save people from injuries by 50% and from death by 60-70 % during an accident," it says, stressing that people should always keep a first-aid kit in their car.
"Take a route map of the country you are travelling to, or GPS for route guidance. Always keep a fire extinguisher in working condition in your vehicle as well as an extra key of the vehicle with you. Don’t allow the fuel level in the tank to come down by more than half, as the next petrol station may not be working,” it adds.
Motorists should be cautious while approaching areas where animals such as camels and sheep may appear, especially while driving at night.
"If you feel drowsy, immediately stop your vehicle and proceed on 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."
*Driving in emergency conditions (rain, fog and dust)
The points highlighted by the MoI are as follows: reduce the vehicle's speed by as much as possible; drive the vehicle on the right side of the road; use the wipers while raining; switch on the dim lights; don’t overtake vehicles in front of you; keep enough distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you; and in case you have to stop the vehicle because of poor visibility or for any other reason, please stay off the road and switch on the hazard lights, and strictly avoid sudden braking without giving signals to other drivers in advance.