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Even with a well-laid out public transport system, the need to drive is inevitable in the UAE. When you drive you also need to take care of the traffic rules followed by the area that you’re driving in and around. The basic driving rules are similar around the world, but there are some special aspects that you need to take care of while driving in the UAE; especially if you happen to be a newbie. Driving rules in the UAE are comparatively stricter than in other countries hence higher is the penalty for breaking one. It will not only cost you to break driving rules in the UAE but also affect other aspects indirectly related to your driving, for example, car insurance. So, let's gather all the knowledge on basic and the most important Dubai traffic rules and the new Abu Dhabi traffic rules for UAE drivers.
The first basic Dubai traffic rule states that everyone sitting in the car should be wearing seatbelts. This includes the driver, the person sitting on the passenger seat and people sitting in the rear seat as well. Children younger than 10 years aren’t allowed to travel on a passenger seat. Any child younger than 4 must be seated in a booster seat. The penalty for breaking these Dubai traffic rules related to seatbelt and seating is AED 400 plus by four black points on your license.
The UAE has a unique system for managing toll taxes, as Salik Tag. It is essentially an electronic chip that can be scanned by the scanners installed on toll gates around the emirates. You never have to stop at toll gates to pay the toll since Salik tags can be scanned in all kinds of weather as well as speeds. Salik tags have eliminated problems related to traffic jams by simplifying process of toll collection. All vehicles are required to have a working Salik tag as per Dubai traffic rules.
Driving under the influence is a serious offence in every country around the world and one of the most important Dubai traffic rules to adhere to in the UAE. The reason is simple – it is incredibly dangerous, not only for the driver under the influence but also for other vehicles on the road. UAE is a few steps ahead when it comes to stringent drinking and driving policies. Needless to say, drinking and driving are absolutely prohibited in the UAE. The penalty for drinking and driving is AED 20,000 or the court-mandated amount with a possibility of imprisonment. You will also get 23 black points on your license if you’re caught violating this rule. While we are on the subject of alcohol consumption, it is not permitted in the UAE to consume alcohol publically. To consume alcohol at home or establishments, you must obtain a license yourself.
If you are a citizen of the UAE, you must be having a driving license already. Anyone older than 18 years of age can obtain a driving license after passing the designated driving test. As far as residents are concerned, you can either transfer your old driving license from your home country to a UAE driving license or get a new one altogether. The list of 32 countries for which the driving license can be obtained at the RTA office. If you are from any other country in the world, you have to take the driving test again and get a new license. If you are a tourist, you simply need to get an international driving permit to drive in the country.
Once you have a driving license in the UAE, it will be valid for the next two years initially if you are 21 years old or older. If you are older than 18 years of age but younger than 21 years, the license will be valid for 1 year. After the renewal, the license will be valid for 10 years. This applies to both Gulf nationals and people from other countries. If you are driving without a valid license, you can be penalized with up to 3 months of imprisonment and/or a fine of AED 5,000 according to Dubai traffic rules.
Car registration is valid for 12 months for all vehicles. You also get a grace period of 30 days when it comes to renewing the registration of the car. You simply need to visit RTA to renew the registration documents of the car. You can expect a vehicle inspection if your car is old. The cost of the test is AED 200 while the cost of registration is AED 350. If you drive around the UAE with an expired registration, you can be fined AED 500 as well as four black points on your driving license.
Just like car registration, vehicle insurance is also valid only for one year and comes with a grace period of 30 days. This arrangement is designed to match the validity of the registration documents of the car. Car insurance can be renewed simply by contacting the insurance company or the aggregator. Driving without a valid insurance plan can lead to a fine of AED 500 and four black points on the license.
This is another common Dubai traffic rule. Driving and using the phone simultaneously in the UAE will attract a penalty of AED 800 and four black points on the license.
If you park in any spot that is not designated to you or the category your vehicle falls into, you can be charged. The following is a list of fines you may have to pay for wrong parking:
Reckless driving is probably the highest penalized Dubai traffic rule violation in the UAE. You not only have to pay AED 2,000 as a fine but will also get 23 black points on your license and your vehicle will be seized for 60 days. This penalty applies to drivers who put others in danger while driving. Other violation that holds similar punishment would be blocking traffic, driving without a number plate, sudden turns and jumping signals leading to reckless driving.
Breaking traffic signals, in general, attracts a fine of AED 1000 and 12 black points on the license. If it is combined with other factors like endangering other’s life, the penalty can increase.
Even when you are following all Dubai traffic rules set by the authorities of the UAE, you may end up paying fines for not following good road etiquette. Throwing garbage on the road, not leaving a safe distance between cars, intentional crowding, using old, expired tyres, driving a noisy vehicle with engine problems, jaywalking, etc. The penalty for these may vary according to the severity of disturbance caused.
The speed limits in the UAE are set as per the area you are driving in. For residential areas, the speed limit is 25-40 kmph. Highways have a speed limit of 110 kmph, one of the highest in the world. In general, the speed limit is 80 kmph. Anyone found violating these speed limits will face a fine of AED 3,000, seizing of their vehicle for 60 days and 23 black points on their license. Needless to say, the penalty for speeding is one of the worst.
UAE weather requires you to have tinted windows. But completely tinted windows lead to disruption of vision while driving, both for you and other drivers. Currently, 50% tinting of windows is allowed in the UAE.
You must ensure that your car always has the original number plate on when you take it out on the road. The violation of these Dubai traffic rules leads to seizing of the vehicle for 90 days, AED 3,000 fine and 23 black points.
The highest violations attract black points on your license. Black point is a penalty system designed by traffic authorities of the UAE. This system is designed to minimize Dubai traffic rule violations in the UAE. One license can receive a maximum of 24 black points before it is revoked. Once your license has 24 black points, your license is suspended for a certain period depending on the number of prior violations. If it is your first time accumulating 24 black points, your license will be revoked for 3 months. For second timers, it is 6 months and 1 year for third timers. Black points last for 1 year or until you collect all 24. After that, the license is restored to zero black points. Some violations that can earn you up to 23 black points in one go include, drinking and driving, causing accidents, property damage, driving without a number plate, transporting hazardous substances without a permit, and illegally transporting passengers. Repeated defaulters also have to take road safety classes to get their license renewed after getting 24 black points.
Breakdowns, if not handled ideally, can cause road havoc for not only you but also others. If your car breaks down in the middle of the road, try and pull it to the side, a little away from high speed traffic. Switch on the hazard lights of your car and put up the warning triangle as well. See if you can repair the breakdown yourself, if not, call your car insurance provider and arrange for roadside assistance service. If your car insurance plan does not contain roadside assistance cover, call a towing service to take the vehicle to the nearest garage. You must keep the roadside assistance number provided by your car insurance provider handy at all times to deal with situations like these.
If you are in a road accident, call the police immediately and see if anyone needs first aid or emergency hospitalization. Arrange for the same first and foremost. Call your car insurance company and inform them about the accident. Call for roadside assistance and take your car to the nearest garage or home for the time being. Get a police report filed for the accident – you will need it to make car insurance claims. Submit a claim with your car insurance company to get the damages repaired by following the due process.
Long-standing Dubai traffic rules or the new traffic rules of Abu Dhabi can be a bit hard to track all at once for newcomers in the UAE. Luckily there is a streamlined way for you to get all this information easily. Given below is a list of applications you can install on your smartphone to make handling traffic rules a lot easier in the UAE:
Dubai traffic rules are not entirely different from any other country in the world. The only difference you may notice is the stringent enforcement of these rules. Lanes and the side of the road allotted to you may differ if your home country drives on the left side of the road. Learn the new traffic rules of Abu Dhabi as well as other emirates as soon as you realise that you may have to drive in the UAE. Follow all road safety rules in the UAE to not only save yourself from getting penalized but also to keep yourself and everyone else on the road safe.