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United Arab Emirates – Driving

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular destination for tourists, business travelers, and expatriates. With an extensive network of highways and roads, driving is a convenient and popular mode of transportation in the UAE. However, it is important to be aware of the driving rules and regulations in the country to ensure a safe and hassle-free driving experience. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about driving in the UAE.

Road Safety in the UAE

The UAE has made significant improvements to its road network in recent years, resulting in better road conditions and increased safety measures. However, it is still important to exercise caution while driving, as the roads can be busy and unpredictable.

The UAE has strict laws in place to ensure road safety. Speeding, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are all serious offenses and can result in fines, imprisonment, or deportation.

Quality of Roads and Local Driving Standards in the UAE

The UAE has a well-developed road network, with modern highways and well-maintained roads in urban areas. However, the driving standards in the UAE can be varied, with some drivers exhibiting reckless or aggressive behavior on the roads. It is important to drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Required Equipment in Your Car

In the UAE, it is mandatory to carry a valid driving license, vehicle registration documents, and insurance papers at all times. Additionally, all vehicles are required to have a fire extinguisher, a warning triangle, and a first aid kit. It is also recommended to carry a spare tire and a jack in case of a flat tire.

What to Do in the Event of an Accident

In the event of a road accident, drivers are required to call the police and wait for them to arrive at the scene. It is important to exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident. If there are any injuries, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.


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Driving Rules in the UAE

Side of the Road to Drive on

In the UAE, drivers are required to drive on the right-hand side of the road.

Right of Way

At intersections, vehicles approaching from the right-hand side have the right of way. Roundabouts also follow this rule, with vehicles entering the roundabout giving way to those already inside.

Speed Limits

Speed limits in the UAE vary depending on the location and type of road. In urban areas, the speed limit is typically 60 km/h, while on highways it can be up to 140 km/h. It is important to adhere to speed limits, as the UAE has a zero-tolerance policy towards speeding.

Other Important Rules

In the UAE, it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving, unless it is in a hands-free mode. Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers, and children under the age of four must be seated in a child safety seat. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Road Signs and Traffic Lights

Road signs in the UAE follow international standards, with signs in both Arabic and English. Traffic lights also follow international standards, with green indicating go, red indicating stop, and yellow indicating that the light is about to change.

Getting Up-to-Date Road Traffic Information

The UAE’s Ministry of Interior provides up-to-date road traffic information through its official website, www.moi.gov.ae. Additionally, various smartphone applications such as Waze and Google Maps provide real-time traffic updates and directions.

Parking in the United Arab Emirates

Parking Rules

In the UAE, parking regulations are strictly enforced, and vehicles parked in restricted areas are towed away. Drivers are required to park their cars within designated parking areas. Parking on pavements or sidewalks is strictly prohibited and could result in a fine. Parking in designated disabled spots without a permit will also result in a fine.

Parking Permits

In some areas of the UAE, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, residents can apply for parking permits. These permits allow the driver to park in designated areas for a specified amount of time without paying.

Parking in Dubai

Dubai has an extensive parking system, which includes parking meters and designated parking lots. The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) operates a system called mParking, which allows drivers to pay for parking via their mobile phones. Payment can also be made through RTA’s website or through various smartphone apps.

Parking in Abu Dhabi

In Abu Dhabi, parking is regulated by the Abu Dhabi Municipality. The municipality operates a paid parking system, with fees varying depending on the location and duration of parking. The parking system is enforced by a network of parking inspectors, and vehicles parked in violation of regulations will be towed away.

Parking in Sharjah

Sharjah has its own parking regulations, and parking is enforced by the Sharjah Municipality. Paid parking is available in designated areas, and payment can be made using coins or prepaid parking cards.

Disabled Parking

In the UAE, disabled parking spaces are designated with a blue wheelchair symbol. Only vehicles displaying a valid disabled parking permit can park in these spaces. These permits can be obtained from the relevant authorities and are available for people with disabilities and the elderly. Parking in a disabled spot without a valid permit is a violation of UAE law and can result in a fine.

Driving in the United Arab Emirates can be challenging for visitors, especially those from countries where driving is less aggressive. However, by following the rules of the road, staying aware of other drivers, and paying attention to road signs, drivers can navigate the roads safely. Additionally, it is essential to carry all required equipment, be aware of the parking regulations, and understand the traffic laws to avoid fines or other legal penalties.


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