The UAE is quite strict about its rules and regulations. When it comes to traffic, the authorities don’t allow for any compromises or leniency for people who flout the rules. If you ever want to drive in the UAE, you should be well-aware of these rules, so that you aren’t caught unawares by the police.
Like most of the other countries, in the UAE, too, you must be at least 18 years of age to drive a vehicle. You should always carry your driving license with you while driving. Using the seat belt is compulsory here. When you also have a child in your car, you should be extra careful. Make sure that your child sits next you in the front, only if he or she is 10 years old or more. Kids who weigh less than 36 kg should be seated in a booster seat for safety.
Never use the phone while you are driving, unless you are on hands-free mode. Never drink or use drugs before driving. UAE has very strict rules and severe penalty for people caught drinking under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Confiscation of driving license, long imprisonment term, exorbitant penalty charges and lashings are some of the punishments for DUI cases.
Here are some tips you can follow to ensure that you drive safely in the UAE and anywhere else in the world:
Use your headlights during the night time. This not only helps you to see the roads carefully but also alerts the other drivers about your presence on the road.
While driving ahead and behind a lot of other cars, you have to leave enough distance that gives you room to adjust your speeds or apply brakes, whenever needed. The three-second rule needs to be followed at all times when you are calculating the distance you should leave before the car ahead of you and behind you.
Have a keen watch on the side mirrors of your car to watch out for other vehicles, especially when you are trying to cross lanes. The blind rule to follow is that you should never try to overtake the other cars on the road, as it is considered illegal in the UAE. Also, you need to shift lanes only if it is absolutely needed.
Use your indicators properly. Have a check on the rear-view and side-view mirrors at all times to understand the indicator signals of the other cars in your vicinity to maintain discipline while driving.
When you see a car flashing its headlight to you, it means that the driver is an urgency to overtake you and fly by. The safe thing to do in this case is to allow him to overtake you. There is no use resisting a car with flashing headlights in the UAE.
It is very important to follow the speed limits when you are trying to be a safer driver. There are valid reasons for the different speed limits for different types of roads and it is only prudent that you follow them. This will not only help in your safety, but in the safety of the cars around you as well. Currently, the speed limits followed in the UAE are:
- Residential Zones – Maximum- 40 kmph
- Urban Zones – Maximum-80kmph; Minimum – 40kmph
- Highways – Maximum – 120kmph; Minimum – 100kmph
Refrain from making any kind of hand gestures while driving in the UAE. This rule is for especially those people who are new to the country. Hand gestures are considered offensive in the emirates nations. Also, stop swearing at your fellow-drivers, however frustrated you are, in the UAE. You can be punished severely for this.
The pedestrian is the king, when it comes to UAE travel laws. You have to remember this always while driving. The rights of the pedestrian come first. When you try to violate these rights by not giving them way when they use the pedestrian crossing, you can be charged with a fine of around Dh500 and close six black points. A person who gets 24 black points will be banned from driving in the UAE for one year.
When you notice trucks on the road when you are driving, the wisest thing to do is to give them the way to pass by. Truck drivers can be quite aggressive and fast; therefore, there is no use wasting your time and energy arguing with them when they overtake you.
Be aware of the black points system when you are driving in the UAE, because this will automatically instill a sense of discipline in you! Whenever you flout a traffic law, you will be given black points, which are valid for a year. If you get 24 black points, you cannot drive anywhere in the UAE for one year. Here are the black point rules:
- If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol, you receive 24 black points immediately
- Over-speeding will fetch you 12 black points
- Driving past a red light will fetch you 8 black points
One of the strangest hazards that you might face when driving in the UAE is the trespassing of camels or goats. When you spot the animals on the road, you have to stop your vehicle abruptly and wait for the animals to go past you.
Foggy or rainy climate is quite unusual in the UAE; however, when you notice that your visibility is getting affected because of fog, rain or sandstorm, the best thing to do is to pull over and wait patiently until the visibility gets cleared up once again.
UAE can be quite challenging for you to drive, especially if you are new to the country. A good idea to practice your driving skills here is to take the road when the traffic is low and get familiar with the lane divisions. You will also get a better idea than before about the route that you have to normally take, when you practice driving at a low-peak time. Once you are comfortable with the route, lane, speed limits and basic rules, you are good to go!