Dubai has one of the best road networks in the world. Driving in Dubai is one of the most liberating experiences. It opens up a whole new side of the city for you to see, one that goes above and beyond the views of a cab window or the blurred sights that you zip past while travelling on the Metro. As exhilarating as it is, the driving dynamics in Dubai may sometimes be daunting for people new to the emirate. There are a lot of things one needs to keep in mind when driving in Dubai.
So, what are the things to do, not to do and the common mistakes to avoid to ensure driving safety in Dubai? Let’s find out.
DOS OF DRIVING IN DUBAI
KNOW YOUR TRAFFIC SIGNS
Traffic signs in the UAE, just like any other country in the world, help motorists to drive better and avoid road hazards as much as possible. There are traffic signs in Arabic and English everywhere on the roads that direct drivers on speed limits, road situations, trailblazing and parking in Dubai. Knowing your traffic signs is the easiest way to avoid traffic fines in Dubai.
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
Keeping a safe distance when driving in Dubai is imperative. Maintain at least a three to five-second gap between your car and the one in front of you. You may find other drivers filling in the safety gap you created, but don’t be tempted to overtake. Instead, just pull back to create the gap again. Remember, your safety comes first.
USE THE FAST LANE JUDICIOUSLY
Even though there are heavy fines on overspeeding in Dubai, certain motorists still commit the offence and they most likely do it on the fast lane. The fast lane is the left-most lane on Dubai roads and freeways. When driving in Dubai, it is not unusual to witness unsafe manoeuvring and risky lane changes on this side of the road and sometimes you become an unwilling participant of that. Be alert and drive carefully. Do not indulge in aggressive driving.
BE CAREFUL WHEN IT RAINS
It always pays to keep track of the weather conditions, especially when you’re driving in Dubai during rain. As basic precautions for rain in Dubai, make sure you drive slow and use the car wipers to maintain decent visibility. In addition to that, remember that the roads may become greasy as an aftermath of the downpour, so apply your brakes sooner than you normally would. Maintain longer distances between your car and the ones in front of you and don’t panic.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD
Needless to mention it here, but you need to keep your eyes on the road at all times. This is perhaps the first point in “how to drive safely in Dubai 101”. The multi-lane driving conditions in Dubai can turn even the slightest mishaps into fatal road accidents. So keep your eyes open. Watch the road in front of you. Use your side mirrors and do not, under any circumstances, be distracted by things that can be taken care of once you’re off the road.
DON’TS OF DRIVING IN DUBAI
DRIVING ON THE HARD SHOULDER
Don’t drive on the hard shoulder. Don’t overtake from the hard shoulder. Even if you see people doing that, do not be tempted to do the same. You could be slapped with a fine of AED 1,000 if caught overtaking from there. If you have a flat tyre or any other car issues, after pulling up your car on the hard shoulder, do not stand there. Instead, get behind the safety barrier and then call the relevant emergency numbers in Dubai.
Road accidents happen every now and then in Dubai. And often people driving in Dubai resort to rubbernecking out of curiosity. Don’t do that. Rubbernecking leads to traffic disruption, causing roadblocks and delays in the flow of traffic. It also puts you and other motorists on the road at risk of causing or being involved in further accidents that may prove fatal. Drive by and keep your eyes on the road ahead.
Normally speed limits on Dubai highways range between 100 and 120 km/h and the speed cap for urban dual-carriageways ranges between 60 and 80 km/h. Try to maintain your speed with the Dubai road speed limits to avoid excessive fines. Speeding fines in Dubai start from AED 300 and can go up to AED 3,000 paired with black points and confiscation.
DRINK AND DRIVE
According to the driving laws in Dubai, there is zero-tolerance for drunk driving in the emirate. Driving under influence (DUI) in Dubai can land you in jail with a hefty AED 20k fine to pay. So, even if you’ve had just 1 pint of beer and feel alert enough to drive, don’t take any chances. Ditch the car and book an RTA taxi back home. Drunk driving in Dubai is a complete NO.
RUNNING A RED LIGHT
The red light means “stop” and all vehicles must stop. Jumping a red light while driving in Dubai is a serious offence. The roads in Dubai are dotted with multiple intersections, with some of them intersecting with tram routes in the city. Running a red light at intersections can result in fatal collisions with too many lives at stake. This is one reason why Dubai traffic laws have strict penalties for running the red light.
GENERAL TIPS FOR DRIVING SAFETY IN DUBAI
Apart from the above-listed pointers, keep the following driving tips in Dubai in mind.
- Keep calm and be patient. You may encounter erratic drivers on the road, but staying calm and avoiding unnecessary rash behaviour will keep you safe.
- Do not swear at, curse or use hand gestures to offend another driver. These are public indecency offences punishable by law.
- Use RTA Smart Drive – one of the RTA Dubai apps specially designed to help you navigate better through the routes and traffic in Dubai.
- Always wear your seat belts when driving in Dubai. Not wearing one will get you 4 black points and an AED 400 fine.
- Never drive without a valid Dubai driving licence or the respective driving licence of the emirate you reside in.
- Never use your phone when you’re driving on the roads in Dubai.
- Make sure you register your car in Dubai before taking it out on the roads.
We hope these driving tips in Dubai come in handy for you. Driving in Dubai is just like getting into a habit. All it requires is getting used to it, but you also need to know the laws, the driving rules and safety measures to get better at it.
While a good know-how of the roads, traffic signs, fines and driving rules in Dubai is a great place to start, you should also know about the applicable parking charges in Dubai. Motorist now have a number of different ways to pay parking charges in Dubai, which makes life easier for them. Another important aspect of driving in Dubai are the Salik toll gates. So do read up on that too.
That’s all we have for you now. Stay tuned for more important information and updates on life in Dubai and the UAE on MyBayut.