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Driving Etiquettes to Know for Travellers in Dubai

30 July 2015

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Travelling to the cosmopolitan city of Dubai is one of the many wishes of travellers.  There are many ways to enjoy Dubai and the many scenic places to see while in the Middle East. You can join an excursion or land tours or even commute. However, if you are like other people who prefer to discover beautiful attractions on your own, driving will be a good way to see the city.

Driving in Dubai can be fun, exciting, and daunting all at the same time. People who are driving in Dubai for the first time may find the unfamiliar roads challenging. Do not let that scare you because Dubai has wide, clean and well-kept roads. The road signs are very visible. There are police and traffic enforcement everywhere so you will be safe. Road side assistance is available and plenty of gas stations, supermarkets and food kiosks line up the long stretches of wide roads leading to the various emirates adjoining Dubai.

Even if you are a seasoned driver who is accustomed to driving elsewhere, it is best to know the driving etiquettes of Dubai.  Aside from that, Dubai has strict road safety and traffic policy in place.

1. Driving and Drinking does not mix

This is a universal rule in driving. It applies in all countries. You do not drive when you even have a tiny drop of alcohol in your system. It is simply unacceptable.  The Dubai Police and Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) are responsible in imposing fines and black point systems to motorists who do not follow the rules.

2. No hand and arm gestures

It is not acceptable in this part of the world to gesture or sway your hands aggressively to another motorists. You can get in hot water especially when you gesture or even point fingers.  With the big roads of Dubai, expect drivers to drive fast and recklessly and you may even get cut off because that is just how other drivers here treat the road and other motorists.

3.  No cursing or swearing

If you are coming from a place where road rage, swearing and cursing are part of the driving norm, then Dubai is not the place for that. I bet, drivers here also curse, swear and rage under many circumstances but not within hearing range of the other motorists. It is highly offensive to curse at anyone here. Do not badmouth other drivers no matter how terrible they are in driving.

4. Use the indicators/signals properly

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Many drivers here do not seem to know the importance of indicating or using signals. Some drivers will signal but never change or turn and others would suddenly swerve to your lane without any notice.  I have been to many countries and have observed how other people drive. I know this happens anywhere too but based on my experience living in this country for many years,  drivers who do not use any signals or indicators are highly concentrated here.

5. Give way to the tram, public and school buses

When you see any of them on the road and needs to pass, give courtesy and let them pass. Also, stop when you are behind a school bus that is dropping of children to the curb. Observe common courtesy.

6. Keep calm and drive on

You may find yourself driving casually until a big vehicle tailgates you and starts flashing headlights so fast that it can cause epilepsy. Do not panic. Do not get mad. And never gesture and swear. Just signal and change lane and allow the vehicle to pass. Do not ruin your vacation just because some people are inconsiderate or they simply do not know road courtesy. Hey, you do! So, relax, give way and just drive according to the speed limit and keep distance.

It is imperative to acquaint yourself with your new surrounding, the orientation of the driver's side in this country, the laws and regulations, and fines and violations. You can get tips from other travellers who have driven here and in other places around the world from this travel guide.


  1. These are great pointers. Sometimes when ghubby gets frustrated with other drivers, he says sweet words which I always correct, lol.

  2. I wish I know how to drive, but before wishing that, I wish we can have our own car. haha.


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