Driving in Dubai: The Guide to a Safe & Enjoyable Time on the Road

Dubai is a land of endless opportunities and wild adventures. Ideal for pursuing a career, growing a business, or simply kicking back and enjoying its countless leisure activities, it has become an attraction for tourists and expats alike. No matter who you are or what you’re doing, driving in Dubai is a liberating experience that opens a whole new side of the city for you to explore. 

While driving in Dubai isn’t extremely difficult, it’s a tad more demanding than driving in most other cities in the world. Between heavy rush hour traffic jams, strict driving rules, driving under the scorching Dubai sun, and coming across some unfamiliar road signs, driving in Dubai can sometimes be challenging. 

Nevertheless, don’t be afraid. We’re here to discuss how you’re driving experience in Dubai can become easier, safer, and much more enjoyable. 

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Tailgating Is Forbidden

Actually, it’s not, but it should be! Tailgating is annoying and dangerous anywhere in the world. However, with the traffic load and speeding cars on the highways of Dubai, the risk of car accidents is even higher. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance to keep a 3-5 second distance from the car in front of you, leaving a safe space between the two vehicles. 

You may find other drivers filling the safety gap you created, but don’t be tempted to overtake. The best thing you can do is pull back to recreate the gap again, preserving your safety and the safety of others. 

Roadrage = Fine

Dubai, and the UAE in general, uphold strict social codes that emphasize respect and public decency. Swearing and vulgar language are considered offensive and disruptive to public order and tranquility. 

No matter how frustrated you may get with your fellow drivers, and as hard as it can be sometimes, you should keep your emotions in check when driving in Dubai. You mustn’t yell, swear, or make any offensive hand gestures under any circumstance. These are considered

public indecencies and will result in a fine or, in some cases, jail. The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy towards any behavior perceived as disruptive or disrespectful to public order. 

Not Too Fast. Not Too Slow

The UAE has the highest posted speed limits in the world, with 2 roads (the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain highway and the Sheikh Khalifa highway) having a limit of 160 km/h (99 mph). Since speed cameras won’t ticket you unless you are going more than 20km/h faster than the limit, you’ll find some drivers going over the speed limit without being fined. 

Despite the hefty fines for overspeeding in Dubai, some motorists are still committing the offense, and they’re likely to use the fast lane to do so – the left-most lane on Dubai roads and freeways. Be alert to unsafe maneuvering and risky lane changes that occur on this side of the road, and don’t participate in any form of aggressive driving that would endanger yourself or others. 

You might think that driving slow, extremely slow, is the solution. Think again. Minimum speed limits aren’t less significant than maximum speed limits. Going under the minimum limit is just as punishable as going over the maximum limit. Driving in Dubai means incredible amounts of traffic, and the minimum speed limits are designed to prevent gridlocks or backups. 

Rules Were Made to Be… Followed

Aside from the standard driving laws in the UAE, which require wearing your seat belt and not using your phone while driving, there are a few other things that you should consider when driving in Dubai. 

Driving on or overtaking from the hard shoulder (emergency lane or breakdown lane on the side of the highway) is not only disallowed but slapped with a fine of AED 1000. Avoid rubbernecking (the act of drivers slowing down to look at an accident or other roadside incident). Witnessing an accident on one of Dubai’s roads or highways isn’t uncommon and shouldn’t be reason enough for you to lose concentration. Drive and keep your eyes on the road. 

Don’t go over the limit! Speeding fines in Dubai start at AED 300 and can reach AED 3,000, and they are paired with black points and confiscation. 

Last but certainly not least, don’t run a red light. Due to the heavy traffic and countless intersections, jumping a red light while driving in Dubai is an extremely serious offense. To ensure safety, Dubai traffic laws have strict penalties for running a red light. 

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