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Getting There By Road

United Arab Emirates (UAE) - Getting There By Road


The drive from London to the Emirates is a journey of around 5,500 kilometres and probably not for the less adventurous types. There are many routes you could take but the final part of the journey will take you through the Middle East and some or all of these countries Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

There are lots of things to take into consideration before undertaking a trip of this length, maybe the first one being the type of vehicle you choose to use. While the European roads will be smooth and easy to drive on, the nearer the journey’s end you get some of the roads will be single track and at times covered with sand. If at all possible you would be recommended to use a 4x4 for the journey, a low slung sports convertible is probably not ideal.

General advice when driving this route is to make sure if you see a petrol station, stop and fill up the tank as opportunities can be few and far between. The scenery can be boring: sand, sand and more sand, which makes driving hazardous, the only entertainment might be giant bulldozers clearing the roads and machines spraying the dunes with tarmac to try and stop the sand spreading. Try to avoid driving in the dark as the oncoming traffic tends to drive on full beam no matter what. Another real danger is camels - long stretches of the roads have no camel fencing and 800kg or so of camel coming at you at around 65kph is not going to end happily.

What about licences and paperwork? Different countries of course have different requirements and again while Europe might be easy to pass through the closer to your destination you get the more complicated the paperwork will get. Visas, driving licences, insurance, car ownership papers must all be checked and double-checked because it is a long way to drive if you haven’t got all your paperwork in order first.

At the Saudi customs post you will have to produce your passport and car ownership papers to receive a piece of paper that gets a stamp at every border check from now on. Next stop is passport check and a stamp on your paper. Another 5 kms on is the UAE border. Inside the passport control office you might be asked to have a retina scan, then to fill out a form and wait while your information is entered on the UAE computer.

Next is a short drive to the customs hall where your car will be given the once over. Having received another stamp on your precious piece of paper there is one last stop: car insurance. You have to purchase car insurance at the border no matter what or you won’t be allowed entry to the UAE. Once this is paid and you get your final stamp you can go to the final check point, hand over the stamped piece of paper and finally gain access to the UAE.

The roads are excellent in the UAE, but remember for most of the drive through the emirate of Abu Dhabi the speed limit is 100kph and there are plenty of speed cameras. In Dubai the limit is 120kph with more speed cameras.

In Dubai some of the roads are toll roads and you will have to buy a Salik sticker a petrol station to be able to use these roads. There are plenty of roadside warnings about the tolls well in advance.


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