Things to Consider Before Planning Road Trip to Dubai

Road Trip to Dubai

Renting a car in Dubai is a good idea, as it allows you to easily move around a city where the distances are huge to walk (especially if it's hot) and where the subway doesn't always bring you closer to the places you want to visit. In addition, with a car, you can go to nearby Abu Dhabi in one day. There are numerous rental companies and all the big ones have an office at Dubai airport.

If you have already decided or are thinking of renting a car, this post will give you some ideas about roads, tolls, parking, etc.

Driving license:

To drive in Dubai you only need the national driving license (be careful that in Abu Dhabi it seems that the international license is needed).

Although on the official page of the Arab Emirates it says that to drive a car in that country you have to make a temporary driving license in the car rental office (need 2 photos, passport and driving license).

The roads:

The roads in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are very good, with a wide network of highways or multi-lane roads (we saw up to 8 lanes each way on the main highway in Dubai). Despite this, traffic is intense and at peak times there may be traffic jams.

Although a newcomer thinks that the Arab Emirates will have few roads and it will be easy to orient yourself, it is not so at first. Therefore, if you have a smartphone it is highly recommended carrying a GPS map without data consumption.


Driving on the right, safety belts are mandatory and the alcohol-tolerated driving rate is zero, with heavy fines and even jail days for drunk driving.

The speed limit varies and can reach 140 km / h on some sections of the highway. It is best to comply with the limits as there are numerous fixed speed radars both in Dubai and on the nearby roads. In any case, extreme precautions since traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in the United Arab Emirates.

If unfortunately, you have an accident, you must remain at the accident site until the arrival of the police. If you are not interested to drive yourself, you can think about driver service.

To make a change of direction, although the road is several lanes, it is usually done from the leftmost lane, turning 180º and joining the leftmost lane (fast lane); there is usually a signal indicating that the maneuver is allowed. The rest of the traffic rules are the usual ones, so you won't find it strange.

The parking in Dubai:

In most of the streets of the city of Dubai you have to pay to park, at least at certain times. Payment can be made by sending an SMS to a phone indicated in the parkimeter, although if your phone card is foreign due to the cost overrun of your telephone company, it will be more expensive than paying with coins in the corresponding classic-style parkimeter.

Large shopping centers such as the Dubai Mall (to climb the Burj Khalifa), the Mall of Emirates or the Marina Mall (in the same area of ​​La Marina) have large free parking areas and generally without a time limit.

Some shops, cafes or restaurants are grouped into small shopping areas that have free community parking for at least a few hours, enough to eat or have a coffee. Try to always look for these car parks.

Generally the shopping centers (for example the Carrefour that is near the old area) have free parking, at least during the first hours and the following hours with lower prices than those on the street. They are therefore the best option to park in Dubai.

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