Driving Tips - The UAE
Getting around by car in The UAE can be a good idea because the public transport there is very limited. Driving around The UAE can be a pleasurable experience because the roads are modern and in excellent condition; however, you must not forget that there will be many aspects of driving etiquette and rules that may be unfamiliar to you. This guide serves to equip you with some indispensable knowledge about the rules of the road in The UAE.
When driving in The UAE it is necessary to carry:
- An International Driving Permit (IDP)
- Drivers licence from country of origin
- Vehicle insurance documents if you are renting a car
- The minimum driving age is 18 (eighteen) years old
Driving Rules, Laws and Regulations
- Driving is done on the right hand side of the road
- You are not permitted to drive in the hard shoulder or to the left of the innermost lane. This carries a heavy penalty.
- You are permitted to use a hands-free kit
- Never drive without a licence. A big fine will be issued and your car may be impounded.
- Never make rude hand gestures or swear at other drivers. Prison time could be a consequence of being caught.
- Trams have priority except in emergencies when ambulance or police are present
- Obstructing a tram is illegal
- Traffic lights will tend to display the traditional 4 (four) phase sequence although at a lot of junctions there is a 5th (fifth) phase where there will be a flashing green after the steady green
- Signs are displayed in Arabic and English
- Priority is given to circulating traffic at roundabouts
- Pedestrians are rarely given right of way at crossings
Speed Limits and Fines
It is highly recommended to follow these general speed limits whilst driving in The UAE:
- 100 or 120km/hour (62mph or 74.5mph) on highways
- 60 or 80km/hour (37mph or 50mph) on main roads
- 40km/hour (25mph) on small suburban streets
There will be many specific limits for particular roads, expressways and beach roads which you should adhere to carefully. Speed limit signs are usually posted just after a speed camera.
There are a number of speed radars on the roads and you will be given a speeding fine if detected.
Speeding fines are sometimes payable annually.
The UAE operate a zero tolerance towards alcohol. Being caught with any amount of alcohol in your system could mean time in prison and fines.
If you are found to be intoxicated you will face time in prison and your insurance would be invalidated.
Free parking is usually found in car parks that belong to shopping, hotels and supermarkets. However they are often difficult to find a space in.
Some areas in The UAE are subject to parking charges.
Road side parking and off-street car parks are usually free from 13:00-16:00, Fridays and public holidays. Orange solar powered ticket machines provide you with a parking ticket.
Parking on the road is not permitted anywhere, except in marked bays.
Parking fines are issued for failure to pay a parking fee.
United Arab Emirates Driving Guide
The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) is situated on the Arabian Peninsula on the eastern entrance to the Persian Gulf.
The U.A.E. is used as a starting point for many tourists as they travel through the Persian Gulf region. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the country is a popular destination, but almost everyone who visits the country spends most of their time in Dubai which incidentally is the seventh most visited city in the world.
Dubai is a shopper’s delight and welcomes over 14 million tourists every year! Shopping, although the mainstay of Dubai’s charm is not the only attraction in the city. It is filled with districts of historical and cultural significance, including the area around Dubai Creek which has been proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Other tourist attractions in the city include the Dubai cable car, camel rides, bird shows and the Dubai Dolphinarium.
The U.A.E has some incredible infrastructure, including roads. Many tourists opt to discover the country at their own pace by rental car.
Scenic Drive — Jebel Hafeet
The route up the Jebel Hafeet mountain is widely recognized as one of the best driving roads in the world, especially loved by the U.A.E. elite and their supercars! Of course, that doesn’t mean a trip along this twisty section of road is not a perfect outing in your rental car!
The road itself was constructed in 1986 and includes a 1250m climb to the summit of the mountain. No need to worry about those supercars either, there are two lanes going up, so take your time to enjoy the spectacular views this road affords. Jebel Hafeet is only 160km from Dubai on the E-66.
Dubai to Dibba
1 hour 30 mins (144 km) (89 miles) via Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Rd
This cross-border trip to Oman is well worth it, just don’t forget your passport! The drive alone takes you through some of the most scenic areas in the U.A.E. dominated by the Persian Gulf and beautiful mountain ranges.
Once in Dibba, consider at trip on a Dhow boat. These head out to various locations including Sheesa Beach. Other activities in the region include rock climbing, mountain biking, swimming, snorkelling and kayaking.
Accommodation in Dibba includes hotels, resorts, guesthouses and apartments.
Scenic Drive - Dubai to Fossil Rock
1 hour (60 km) (37 miles) via Dubai/Hatta Road (Al Awir exit)
The beautiful location of Fossil Rock is situated a mere hour outside Dubai although you may want to consider a 4x4 rental vehicle (or at least one with a higher ground clearance) to access certain areas.
Other than stunning views (don’t forget your camera), there are a number of interesting areas to visit around Fossil Rock itself. These include Camel Rock, the village of Nazwa and the beautiful red sand dunes in the area.
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