Driving Tips, Rules & Regulations in the UAE

As a federation of seven advanced emirates, it’s no surprise that the roads within the United Arab Emirates are well maintained and advanced compared to most road networks. This makes driving in United Arab Emirates a breeze, so long as you comply with the traffic rules and regulations within the jurisdiction. You’re going to need a Salik Tag to get to the UAE from Saudi Arabia if you plan to enter the region by car. All the highways going there will be in excellent condition, though you might have to put up with the traffic as you pass by Sharjah and Dubai.

Renting a car in United Arab Emirates is relatively cheaper compared to the US. Depending on the size of the car for rent, there will be a flat fee. An International Driver’s Permit or IDP is necessary for hiring or renting a car in the United Arab Emirates. An IDP is merely a translation of your locally issues license from your country of origin. However, you will eventually need a UAE driver’s license should you attain residency status. Depending on where you’re from, getting a license would entail as little as a 20 minute process (most applicable to Western countries). Those who are from most Asian states will have to take an approximate of 40 classes and pass a licensure exam.

United Arab Emirates’ road system is quite similar to the US and European standards, that is, you’ll be seeing lots of traffic channeling and roundabouts. Signposts, however, are fairly easy to understand and are usually placed clearly. You’ll be more concerned about the aggressive drivers, especially in the urban areas, since they tend to practice driving styles that are risky just to avoid congested traffics.

Next to Saudi Arabia and Oman, the United Arab Emirates is third to have the highest traffic-related deaths in the world, largely due to the high speeds motorists drive at and their courage to take risks when driving, not to mention the many young Arabs who drive with tinted vehicles at night – even when it’s not allowed. Expect drivers overtaking on the right without warning, so drive defensively.

But take note that cars in the UAE drive on the right and overtake on the left, despite what most locals do.

You’ll find really good city maps for Dubai and most of UAE, issued locally. These will help you when driving in United Arab Emirates.

Depending on which of the Emirates you’re in, what to do during an emergency or accident may vary. But what’s usually the practice is to keep within the vicinity of the accident and to move the vehicle only when it obstructs traffic. But as a foreigner, you will want to remain polite and courteous. You don’t want to get fined just for being rude to the police.

You’ll be happy to know that petrol is very cheap in the UAE compared to the US and European countries. As of December 2013, unleaded petrol costs only around 0. 49 USD per liter or 0. 36 EUR per liter.

Lastly, take note that you’re required to wear your seatbelts at all times. There is also a zero-tolerance for drink driving in United Arab Emirates.

Summary

The roads within the United Arab Emirates are well maintained and advanced compared to most road networks.
An International Driver’s Permit or IDP is necessary for renting a car in the United Arab Emirates.
United Arab Emirates’ road system is quite similar to the US and European standards.
Drive on the right and overtake on the left.
Fuel is very cheap in the UAE.
You’re required to wear your seat belts at all times.
Zero-tolerance for drink driving.

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