Despite having a robust public transit network, the climate in the UAE also makes it essential for one to maintain a private mode of transport. The excellent infrastructure and roads in UAE make driving a car a true pleasure. However, road rules in the UAE are strictly enforced and carry heavy penalties. These can be easily avoided by a little bit of diligence on our part. Most of the laws are commonsensical, though there might be some which are region-specific. Nevertheless, it would make sense to go through them. So, before we get carried away and push the pedal to the metal, let's get acquainted with the traffic laws in the UAE.
You will have left-hand drive vehicles as all vehicles drive on the right side of the road. While this is normal for most people, there are a few countries around the world that have right-hand drive vehicles and drive on the left side of the road. Also, kids between the ages of four and eight need to sit in a booster seat while no one below the age of thirteen is allowed to sit in the passenger seat. Car rental providers can make all these arrangements for you.
Black Point System
The UAE follows a black point system. Black points are awarded on breaking traffic rules. The first violation is earned on crossing twenty-four black points in twelve months wherein your traffic license is seized for three months. The driving license is confiscated for six months on the second violation. The third violation leads to the license being seized for a year and is only given back when the driver passes the test prescribed by the traffic authorities.
Salik & Seatbelts
It is compulsory to wear seatbelts while driving, even for the passengers sitting in the rear of the vehicle. If you break any of these rules, it will not only lead to a hefty fine but black points on your driving license. The car needs to have a Salik tag, which allows for easy toll payments without the need for vehicles to stop at the tolls. This card, however, will be pre-installed in your rental car. Just be sure that there is enough balance in the card to avoid any fines.
Permissible License & Speed
Driving licenses in the UAE are valid for two years, post which they need to be renewed. If you are a non-resident, you will need a valid international driver's license, which is recognized in the GCC. The act of driving without a license is punishable by imprisonment of three months and/or fine of AED 5,000. It's also paramount to maintain the right driving speeds in the different zones. You will need to drive in a range of 100-120 km/h on motorways, 60 km/h in urban areas, and 40 km/h in residential areas.
Points to Remember
It is prohibited to talk or even use your mobile phones while driving. If it's urgent, you should pull over to the side and only then receive the call. The act of drinking and driving is wholly prohibited (blood alcohol level needs to be 0) just like any other narcotic, and if caught, it will lead to imprisonment and/or a fine of at least AED 20,000. You must have all the registration and insurance papers for the vehicle, so make sure you get them from the car rental agency.