Safety on the roads in Dubai

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According to a survey of 1,000 motorists in Dubai, using an indicator is a ‘sign of weakness’.

A little further digging into that survey reveals that, in fact, only 9% of people thought that, and that 23% of people said they were distracted by traffic, and a further 16% said they didn’t indicate out of habit.

Driving in Dubai can be a challenge, and while many Emiratis are used to the local driving style, Westerners especially have to learn to adapt and be increasingly vigilant and safe on the roads. Not using an indicator is just one dangerous practice, but it can land you with a 200 dirham fine, as well as four black points on your licence.

The international nature of Dubai’s community means that a lot of driving habits from other countries are being picked up – so while a lot of UK drivers tend to indicate and drive sensibly on the roads, there are many who swerve in between lanes and merge at junctions without warning.

Stay back and check your mirrors

The most simple piece of advice for driving in Dubai is to stay back and watch your mirrors at all times. Make this a routine check especially if you are travelling down busy roads with multiple lanes in rush hour.

Always give yourself at least two car lengths between yourself and the vehicle in front, and if someone decides to invade that space, create it again by hanging back.

Traffic lights

When approaching traffic lights that are changing, don’t be tempted to jump them, and make sure that the person behind you isn’t going to jump them either. Slow down on approaching any traffic lights and make sure that the person behind sees your brake lights.

Jump the lights, and you risk a fine, as the traffic police are on the lookout.

Speed limits

Speed limits are variable across the UAE, and vary from 80km/h in built-up areas to 140km/h on some of the main stretches. However, the limits vary a lot and there are speed cameras waiting for those who don’t adhere.

On-the-spot fines can be given, and more serious cases of speeding can result in a court summons and suspension of your licence.

Outside of the city

As you go outside of Dubai, be careful on the roads – you may have to share them with camels! It’s wise to have a 4×4 once you get out of the centre of Dubai, especially if you decide to go off-road. With the low petrol prices and the low prices for these vehicles, you’ll obviously see quite a few of them!

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