Summer is upon us and with it, thousands of tourists who come to visit, especially from the Gulf countries, and thousands of expatriates, mostly from the same part of the world. With them, according to official figures, we also get about a million or so extra cars on the roads.

Apart from the family reunions, which are always pleasant, there is an extra bonus that comes with this influx: reinvigorating business, a normal occurrence when the population of the city increases at such rate. After all, visitors are here to “spend” their summer vacation, and that normally helps the country’s economy.

Yet, along with the positive features of this annual ritual, there are some problems and challenges that accompany this sudden swell in the number of people.

Foremost is the traffic situation. Our roads can barely accommodate normal traffic, so when a million more vehicles join the regular flow, traffic congestions could become unbearable and costly, at least in terms of time consumed on the roads.

At the same time, driving safety could be jeopardised because tempers tend to run short, driving habits may be different and some people – both locals and visitors – believe they own the road, immune from prosecution in case of violations.

While acknowledging the visitors’ need to use their vehicles, and welcoming them in our midst, we also feel that measures can be taken to make driving as safe and orderly as possible.

One such measure could be imposing certain restrictions. Normally the most taxing driving hours begin in the afternoon and go well into the night. This is when drivers could be asked to reduce driving to the bare minimum, by persuasion to start with, but through enforceable restrictions as a last resort.

Since reliance on a public transportation system is not really an option, yet, at the end of the day there is need for drivers, all drivers, to cooperate in respecting the new guidelines.

Constant reminders, through the media, calling for such cooperation, might succeed in solving part of the problem.

Maximum road surveillance by traffic police is a must, at all times. It is necessary to make sure drivers abide by the law by not driving while using their cellular phones, respecting the speed limit and avoiding abrupt lane changing.

The Traffic Department could inform drivers about the peak hours, to avoid having them on the roads unnecessarily.

We all can do something to make driving less of a nightmare. At least we can keep our cool, scrupulously observe the rules and show courtesy, which could make all the necessary difference.