Guide to Driving in the UAE

Due to its recent economic growth, the UAE has an excellent road infrastructure. It’s actually a pleasure to drive on the streets of large cities like Abu Dhabi. Even if the limit is so high in built-up areas, we recommend you to avoid driving with speeds over 70kmh (43mph). Traffic is on the right and overtakes are on the left in the UAE. Many people around the country are reckless and they have an aggressive style of driving. As a result, the UAE has one of the highest car crash rates in the world. As a foreign driver you should always keep a defensive style of driving. If you’re planning to go for the desert regions we definitely recommend you a 4x4 vehicle. Even if English is not the main language here, the road signs are often accompanied by an English translation. Parking is one of the hardest things to do, especially in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Parking areas are often really expensive. If you’re staying at a hotel, make the most of your free parking and try to move around the town on foot. Besides the price it’s really hard to get a convenient parking place in a reasonable amount of time.

The police cars in UAE are white with dark green stripes on the hood and on the sides. The word ‘POLICE’ is printed on them and the light beacons are mandatory. In case that police pulls you over, the required documents include your identity card, the vehicle’s registration certificate, your international driver’s permit and your domestic license. You also need to have a pair of warning triangles as part of your vehicle’s items.

Essential Driving Information

  • Passengers both in the front and rear seats are required to use the seatbelts at all times, if fitted.
  • Remember that there are a lot of toll roads across the UAE, mainly the highways.
  • In terms of documents we need to say that you need an international drivers permit alongside your domestic license.
  • Dipped beam should be used when it’s raining or when the visibility decreases significantly. High beam should be used at night in poor-lit places, when there’s no incoming traffic.
  • Using the mobile phone while driving is considered illegal. Don’t do it even if you see others doing it.
Speed Limits
Town/City: 80kmh (50mph)
Main Road: 100kmh (62mph)
Motorway: 120kmh (75mph)
Emergency Phone Numbers
Police: 999
Ambulance: 998
Firefighters: 997
General Information (as of 2014)
Min Driving Age: 18
Alcohol Limit: 0.00%
Petrol Price: €0.36/litre
Diesel Price: €0.29/litre
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