Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dubai driving tips

I've been answering questions on internet forums from people about to visit Dubai who have various queries about hiring cars, the road system, driving and so on.

That prompted me to think that it might be helpful to outline here some of the rules which apply in Dubai but which may be unfamiliar to visitors.

I suppose the most basic question is which side of the road do we drive on.

We have left-hand drive cars so we drive on the right.



However, in Dubai if there is a line of traffic waiting and you believe you are more important than the other drivers, that your time is more valuable than theirs, please feel free to drive on the left.


We have roundabouts on various roads. As already explained, we drive on the right side of the road, so we drive to the right through roundabouts.



This does not of course apply to self-important drivers, who may feel free to drive to the left through roundabouts to jump the queue.


Like many other countries we have hard shoulders for emergency brakedowns and so on.



This may be ignored if you are a driver of the self-important variety, in which case you may feel free to use the hard shoulder to get to the front of the queue.

Now to road signs.

In Dubai we use the standard international road signs with which you will be familair.

For example, a large arrow pointing right means you must go right. A red circle with a white horizontal stripe means No Entry.



However, in Dubai these may be ignored if you feel they inconvenience you in any way.


A large arrow pointing right, as already explained and as you will be familiar with, means you must turn right. A left pointing arrow which has a red diagonal line through it means you must not turn left. Often they will be used together.This means you must not turn left but can only turn right.



In Dubai you may ignore these if you find them in any way inconvenient.


A word of warning - if you ignore the No Entry and No Left Turn signs you are likely to meet oncoming traffic head on.



On no account should you reverse, turn round and drive the correct way along the one way road. The correct course of action in Dubai is to pull to the wrong side of the road and insist that the cars driving in the correct directon squeeze past you.

We also have the internationally recognised pedestrian crossings, known as zebra crossings in some countries. Dubai's traffic law says that pedestrians have right of way and traffic must stop for them.



Be aware that in Dubai if you stop for a pedestrian the car behind will not be expecting it and will run into the back of you. This will push you into the pedestrian, so the end result is an injured pedestrian and two damaged cars. In Dubai the pedestrian waiting at the crossing is to be ignored.

Oh, and parking. There are clearly marked designated parking spaces, No Parking signs and so on.



However, in Dubai you may feel free to take two parking spaces, or park in any way in any place which is convenient for you.

I hope this has been useful for people planning to visit us and drive on our roads.

27 comments:

alexander... said...

An admirable collection! Do feel free to email me for a copy of my 'Traffic regulators who cause massive tailbacks and jams should feel free to use sandy shortcuts' picture! :)

Cat Russell said...

Hi, I love this post, its so accurate, well done on the pictures though they really do make the story way more entertaining and believable.

Elle said...

LOL...this is true for Abu Dhabi too.

Mars said...

this is spot on!

hemlock said...

brilliant post seabee... i think we all have a collection of drivers that make the lawabiding kind look stupid - we really should have a collective UAE blog where people can send in their gems. im certain there will be plenty of material to go around.

Seabee said...

Hemlock, the same thought had crossed my mind with Alexander's kind offer of his photographic contribution. Maybe we should start a blog similar to 'Souk Watch'...call it, I don't know, something like 'Moron Alert' perhaps.

Cat if I hadn't had the pics it would have been a meaningless whinge that people would have thought was fictitious. It's why I always carry my little digital camera with me.

Dave said...

So True - A shame the Police don't seem to see any of what we all see everyday here......

LDU said...

Very funny post :)

BBoppie said...

Never been to Dubai but would want go just to try my hand driving there. Looks like a lot of other places I have driven like New York City, Los Angels, Guam, etc, etc.
Nice Photos!

D said...

I LOVE THIS POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Brilliant!!!

bonk said...

Good stuff :). Here's a few more tips about driving in Dubai :)

Mupersan said...

Excellent post Seabee. Thanks!
Mands

Anonymous said...

Printed this out and stuck it up on the wall in the staffroom at the Dubai school I work in. It's had a lot of laughs. Love it!

Joelg said...

We could had so many things such: never using turning light, kids standing in the front seat or in the knees of the driver, driving with fog light when no fog and with hazard light when there is frog... So much more, why we don't make an open blog to update that with pictures. We could also speak about technical status of trucks with nice pictures of them...

Rose in Dubai said...

Indicator lights are for decoration and only to be used at Diwali and at Christmas. If you are a local and someone in your family is getting married you can switch on every light on your car, including fog lights and hazard lights so that you match your house.

Anonymous said...

I only wish I had taken a photo of the car that I saw last October parked in the reception of the Oasis Tower on Sheikh Zayed Rd. I kid you not - 8pm the driver decided he could not find a parking spot and as the entry way was wide enough so why not?

SK said...

Nice blog Seabee, you've got another reader

Seabee said...

Thanks SK, and welcome.

Bush Mechanic said...

Bah, Using your indicators gives the game away. It's like reading the last page of a novel first.

....and speeding never kills, it's the sudden stop that takes care of that.

sunil said...

just 2 more cents...the dubai freeway system is the biggest race track in the world. stay out of the way of crazy drivers. if you see people racing, simply get on the side, maintain control and let them be. crashes are hard to survive on dubai freeways.

caz said...

Well, SeeBee, I don't know what this lashing of praise is all about, the post is simply up to your usual standard, but I'll add my bit anyway. Jolly well written.

Caz.

MooNoi said...

thanks for the post, seabee. Definitely made me decided not to attempt driving until i'm really comfortable with the roads and the way of driving in dubai!

driving school redditch said...

This gives a lot of useful information about Dubai. From the pictures you can easily tell that the roads are organized. In that way traffic jams will be lessened.

Karla Grünewald said...

Great post! One more point to the list:
In a three line road, if you are driving on the center line and the driver on your right decides he wants to turn left at any time, he is free to to do so pushing your car away, as long as he has his "indicators on".
It happened to me this week.
I drive a relatively tall CRV and, after pulling off my front bumper, the great driver of a little audi left his car screaming why I didn't stop to give him way to turn left, from the extreme right, in front of the green traffic lights. Hahahahhahaa.....
Thankfully the Dubai Police did not agree with his twisted driver's vision and gave me the GREEN paper and he got the RED paper. Another interesting subject to a new topic. :)

Mr. Didier Drbois said...

Love this post. Unquestionably, empathically, endlessly love it.

Anonymous said...

Very amusing as well as helpful. I seriously doubt I would attempt driving there however.......but thanks for the helpful advise........

Anonymous said...

Here in the States as well.....