Road Safety Rules in the UAE

Shambhavi Singh
Est. Reading Time 7 mins

UAE is a melting point for different cultures and nationalities; hence despite sound road infrastructure, traffic conditions and driving styles are rather unpredictable. Also, it can get slightly intimidating for new drivers to drive on six-lane roads when others are driving at the speed of 100 to 120 kmph, increasing the possibility of road accidents. With that said, the nation’s traffic authorities have enforced strict driving rules in UAE along with hefty fines and hi-tech detection systems to keep things under control.
To walk you through UAE driving rules, the fines system and steps for enhancing road safety in the UAE, we present a comprehensive guide to the country’s road safety and traffic rules.

Common Rules & Regulations

Here are some of the important road safety rules in the UAE that you must know.

  1. Valid Driving License
    While residing in the UAE, a driving license is a valuable possession, and many car owners keep it to maintain all rules and regulations. You should have a valid driver’s license with you all the time. The license is renewable for ten years for GCCC and UAE citizens and five years for other nationalities. You can’t renew your license until you clear all the pending fines. Violating driving license rules can make you pay fines of up to AED 3,000. Also, they can confiscate your vehicle too. Here are several driving license rules in the UAE.
  • You need to pay an AED 400 fine if you have a foreign driving license without having a permission
  • You will earn 12 black points and need to pay AED 400 if you drive without a proper driving license
  • If your driving license is expired, you may pay a fine of AED 500 and earn four black points.

2. UAE Driving Side
Dubai follows the right-hand drive system. Vehicles in Dubai come with the steering wheel on the left, and you need to drive on the right side of the road. However, overtaking is allowed from the left. Though it is common in Dubai on both sides of the road, you should ensure that rear and side view mirrors are functioning and check out for fast vehicles. Nevertheless, the rules are stringent – Overtaking on the hard shoulder can earn you a fine.

3. UAE Speed Limit
Traffic authorities in Dubai have specified the speed limit, which ranges between 60kmph to 80kmph for urban areas, 40kmph for residential spaces, parking areas 25kmph and 100kmph to 120 kmph on highways. However, defaulters have to pay a fine if they break the rule, depending on the severity of the violation.
For instance, if you are found exceeding speed limits by more than 60 kmph, you may earn a fine of AED 2,000, along with a vehicle confiscation for 30 days will be enforced. Also, a similar penalty would apply for racing deliberately or driving recklessly.

4. Driving Under Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol, narcotic substances, or similar substances is a severe criminal offense in the UAE, and those who are found guilty may have to deal with the cancellation of their driving license and insurance. The UAE has zero tolerance for alcohol, and it doesn’t matter how little you have consumed before driving; you will face major consequences. Here are the penalties you may face for driving under the influence.

  • The authorities may suspend your driving license for one year
  • You may earn a fine of AED 20,000 or AED 30,000
  • You can be imprisoned for one month to three years, depending on the severity of the crime

5. Not Wearing a Seatbelt
The UAE law makes it mandatory to wear seatbelts while driving, including those sitting in the rear seat. The front seat passengers should also be 145 cm tall and not younger than ten years old. Kids up to four also need to be provided a child safety seat. You must follow all these guidelines while driving in the UAE. However, violating this law may earn you AED 400 fine along with four black points.

6. Reckless Driving
Few days ago, The Abu Dhabi Police arrested a driver caught carelessly weaving in and out of traffic. Although there weren’t many vehicles on the highway, the person was traveling on and tailgating other vehicles and even refused to stay in his lane, nearly causing a collision multiple times.
Reckless driving is a careless behavior of a person on the road that can endanger other vehicles. It incurs a fine of AED 2,000, 23 black points, and a car confiscation for 60 days. The same penalties will be applied to drivers who endanger themselves. Other violations cover: blocking traffic, jumping red signals, sudden swerving and driving without a number plate.

7. Ignoring Traffic Signals and Road Signs
Whether you are a motorist or a driver in the UAE, ignoring traffic signals, stopping streets, and road signs, such as red lights, is also a finable offense. Violation of the rule signals can result in a fine of AED 1,000. You may also earn a penalty of 12 black points, and your vehicle or bike can be seized for a month.

8. Distractions
According to the research conducted by RoadSafety-UAE, only 66% of drivers are always entirely focused behind the wheel, while 40% are busy adjusting the air conditioning, and 34% use their mobile phones. Distracted driving refers to driving while engaged in other activities, such as texting, talking on the phone or with other passengers, drinking, eating, or looking after children.
All distractions compromise the safety of the passengers, pedestrians and those in other vehicles. This is a cause of 4% of road deaths, which equated to 239 deaths in 2019, according to the WHO. Distracted driving can cause a fine of AED 400 and four black points.

9. Expired Tires
Old and damaged car tires affect the resale value of your car and can also cause unfortunate road accidents. Also, driving with expired tires can earn you a fine of AED 500, 4 black points and car impoundment for a week.

10. Window Tints
Dubai Police recently issued a new traffic rule that enables car owners to use 50 percent tint in their car windows, which was a 30% tint rule in the emirate before. Under the new Federal Traffic Law, car owners can tint all windows except the front windscreen. With the new 50% tint rule, motorists who prefer darker tint no longer have to worry about an AED1,500 fine imposed for using more than 30% tints previously.

11. Noise Pollution
The UAE police ensure the cars don’t affect residents’ peace and set the noise limit from vehicles to 95 decibels. Anything above will lead to penalties. Also, the authorities have installed radars throughout the roads to ensure motorists do not cross this set limit on the roads.

12. Crowding Accidents Sites
Police in the UAE urge community members to avoid crowding at accident sites and taking pictures or videos of injured people. According to the UAE Federal Law, doing so may result in a fine of AED 1,000.

13. Illegally Driving Passengers
Motorists of private vehicles illegally ferry passengers in Abu Dhabi and to other emirates. They either approach passers-by near the bridge and at the bus stop or shout, offering passengers a cheap alternative to licensed taxis. However, doing so can make you pay fines of between AED 5,000 and Dh10,000 and 30 days in jail.

14. Abrupt Swerving
Sudden swerving is another major cause of road accidents in the UAE. It poses significant risk and confusion for road users. Therefore, under the UAE Federal Traffic Law, abrupt swerving warrants a fine of AED 1000 and 4 black points.

15. Not Claiming an Automobile
In the UAE, if a car owner doesn’t claim their vehicle after its confiscation period ends, they need to submit a penalty of AED 50 as storage fees.

16. Not Maintaining a Safe Distance
Keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you is mandatory to give you ample time to react if something happens. However, tailgating is considered a violation of the rule and may attract a fine of AED 400 and 4 black points in the UAE.

17. Other Behavior Violations
Apart from those mentioned above, there are other violations that drivers make. So, if you are driving in the UAE, here are common acts to avoid for your safety.

  • Throwing garbage out the window
  • Jaywalking
  • Not fastening your seatbelt
  • Driving without insurance or car registration
  • Driving a noisy vehicle

Road Signs In The UAE