Post updated 4-Oct-2021
It’s important for tourists visiting the UAE to be aware of some of the important driving guidelines and regulations outlined below.
The telephone numbers for emergencies are: Police 999 - Fire 997 - Ambulance 998. In case of an accident call the police and make sure you receive the green part of the police accident report, if the accident was not your fault.
Only rental cars
It is not allowed to drive a non-rental car without a UAE residency. Hence, tourists can only drive rental cars.
Fatigue causes a high number of road accidents in the UAE. Be aware of fatigued (commercial) drivers and make sure you avoid fatigue!
It is a custom in the UAE to flash your high beam lights in the left lane. It means: change to the right lane and give way to the oncoming faster traffic.
In the UAE, overtaking and undertaking happens – on all lanes and not only on the left lanes like in many other countries.
The many lanes can lead to orientation problems, especially when you try to find your exit.
Be aware of the desert-style driving conditions related to sand, sandstorms, foggy weather and heat.
Be extra careful on pedestrian crossings – not all cars stop for you, unlike in many other countries.
Bike & Motorbike
Don’t expect much consideration in case you drive a bicycle or a motorbike.
Be careful, since many drivers do not use indicators.
There is a 0.0% tolerance for alcohol with very tough penalties.
Hitch hiking is not allowed in the UAE.
It is allowed for women to drive in the UAE.
Many areas in the main city are paid parking except on Fridays and public holidays – use the parking ticket machines and have coins handy. In some malls you have a few hours free parking with steep fees if you exceed the maximum parking time – check carefully in your mall.
Obey the speed limits which are max 120km/h on highways, but watch out for exceptions. Within cities, there are various different speed limits you need to obey.
Be mindful of the many nationalities and different driving-culture backgrounds of traffic participants in the UAE.
Around Mosques, be aware of crowded parking on Fridays and religious holidays.
Be aware of cars stopping where they should not, like on shoulders of highways or even in the middle of lanes – every year many serious accidents happen this way.
Be aware of the omnipresent hazard lights indicating somebody is twisting the traffic rules.
Speed bumps and Roundabouts
Be aware of the many speed bumps and roundabouts.
Don’t fancy driving?
Take advantage of the many public transport opportunities like taxis, buses, water taxis and the Dubai metro.Share your story