Driving In Dubai

There are a number of practical issues to bear in mind when driving in Dubai. The information below will help you have a trouble-free driving experience.

With a wealth of fascinating historical and archaeological sites as well as many natural wonders to see in this vibrant country, driving is essential if you want to get about because, as yet, there is little in the form of public transport.

Dubai has an excellent network of roads connecting the city and surrounding areas, with the Sheikh Zayed Road, the main arterial link in and out of the city. Two bridges and a tunnel link the two main districts Bur Dubai and Deira with each other. However, like many modern cities that have undergone rapid growth, Dubai is suffering the consequences of its success through the resulting congestion.

Toll System (Salik)

A round-the-clock toll system or congestion charge for vehicles travelling along the Shaik Zayed Road and Al Garhoud Bridge was imposed in Dubai from the beginning of July 2007. Charges are paid by means of a pre-paid sticker placed in the windscreen of the car and read by automatic readers as cars pass through the toll areas. Stickers can be bought at filling stations and certain banks. Further information on this charge can be found at the following website www.salik.ae

Desert Driving

Roads in Dubai are usually excellent and there is no need for 4X4 vehicles unless you are intending to drive across the desert or take part in off-road activities; in which case, it is advisable to drive in convoy with people who do have local knowledge.

If you drive into the desert on your own, some basic precautions are essential:

  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Carry at least one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Don’t assume that your cell phone will work in the desert - it may not.
  • Should you become stranded, stay with your car and signal. Don’t go walking off and get lost.


An International Driver's Permit carried in conjunction with your national driving licence is recommended for driving in the UAE. Foreign licences are acceptable providing that you are a citizen or bona fide resident of the country that issued the licence. Make sure documentation is carried with you at all times when driving. Police officers will expect to see documentation if they stop you. Offer the IDP first, as the officer may need to retain it, thereby leaving you with your national driving licence with which to continue your journey.

All vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road.

Seatbelts, as in most modern countries, are mandatory.

There is a zero tolerance attitude towards drink/driving and the blood alcohol allowance is 0%.

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