Dubai Driving Rules

Dubai, with its stunning skyline and modern infrastructure, is a city that welcomes visitors from all over the world. To make your stay even more enjoyable, it's essential to understand the driving rules in Dubai. This guide will help you navigate the roads smoothly, whether you're a tourist or a resident.

Ready to explore Dubai's towering buildings, desert adventures, and bustling streets?  Before hitting the road, it's crucial to understand the city's driving rules. This guide provides a straightforward overview, helping you travel with confidence and safety.

Here's what we'll cover in this guide:

  • Basic Rules like driving on the right side, using seat belts, and avoiding phone use.
  • Speed Limits - the maximum speeds for different roads to avoid fines and accidents.
  • Understand common signs to stay informed and avoid confusion.
  • Practical advice on roundabouts, staying calm in traffic, and more.


Whether you're an experienced driver or new to Dubai's roads, this guide will help you navigate smoothly and confidently. Let's dive in!

Can I Drive in Dubai as a Tourist?

If you're a tourist in Dubai, the good news is that you can indeed drive. However, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the local driving regulations. 

As a tourist, you have two options to cruise through Dubai’s streets:

International Driving Permit

If you hold a valid international driving permit, you can conquer Dubai's roads for up to six months. Just make sure your home country's driving license is also valid during your stay. Obtain your international permit before arriving in Dubai, as most countries don't issue them within their borders.

Local Driving License

Planning a longer stay? Consider applying for a UAE driving license, valid for up to three years. You can exchange your home country's license for a UAE one under specific conditions. This option allows you to rent any type of vehicle, whereas with an international permit, you're limited to light vehicles like cars and SUVs.

What License Do I Need?

Understanding the right license for driving in Dubai is essential, especially if you are not a native speaker. You must possess a valid international driving permit or a license from one of the approved countries. We recommend to check whether your country is on the approved list to avoid any potential issues.

When driving in Dubai, make sure to carry your license and other necessary documents with you at all times. This precaution will help ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience on the roads, providing you with the confidence to navigate the city's diverse landscapes.

Can Women Ride in Dubai?

car belt woman in Dubai

Certainly! In Dubai, women have the freedom to drive without any restrictions. This applies to both residents and tourists, making the city inclusive and welcoming for female drivers.

This inclusivity extends to all aspects of driving, in order to help women feel empowered to navigate the streets of Dubai confidently. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, the city encourages and supports women to exercise their right to drive, contributing to a diverse and dynamic driving community.

Is Driving Safe in Dubai?

Dubai, with its famous tall buildings and modern roads, takes road safety seriously. The city has well-kept roads and follows strict traffic rules, making it one of the safest places to drive. Moreover it’s safe outside the city and if you want to make a road trip from Dubai to any other Emirate, it’s still safe. However, as a non-native speaker, it's essential to know a few things to have a smooth and safe driving experience.

Road Conditions and Infrastructure

Dubai has good roads that are well taken care of, providing a comfortable driving experience. But it's important to know about occasional sandstorms that might affect road conditions. Keep a safe distance from other cars and adjust your speed according to road conditions for a safer journey.

Driving Behavior and Culture

The city is home to people from different cultures, and this is reflected in driving behaviors. Be patient and understanding on the roads, as driving etiquette may vary. Staying calm and patient will make your journey safer for you and others around you.

Emergency Help

This city is known for its emergency services and help culture on the roads. Know the emergency numbers and where the service stations are located. Being aware of this information can be very helpful if you face any issues while driving.

Tips for Driving in Dubai

Driving in Dubai can be a pleasant experience when you keep a few key tips in mind. Understanding the speed limits is crucial for a smooth and secure journey on the city's roads. We have collected some of the most important tips that will help you avoid unexpected situations and bring back with you only good memories, but not driving bills. 

Know the Speed Limits

Dubai's roads have different speed limits, and it's essential to stay aware. Watch out for signs indicating the allowed speed and follow them closely. This not only keeps you from getting fines but also ensures everyone's safety on the road.

Pay Attention to Traffic Signals

Traffic signals are like road conductors, guiding everyone smoothly. Keep a close eye on traffic lights and follow their instructions carefully. This helps prevent accidents and keeps the traffic moving without any problems.

Approach Roundabouts with Caution

Dubai has many roundabouts, and approaching them carefully is crucial. Always yield to other drivers when needed, and follow the signs showing you the way. This ensures a safe journey around these circular intersections.

Keep Your Phone Away

Using your phone while driving is a big no-no in Dubai. It's strictly prohibited to make sure everyone stays safe. To follow the rules and keep yourself and others secure, put your phone away while you're behind the wheel.

Parking in Dubai 

There are specific rules to ensure the order. The city has various parking zones, each with its own regulations, including paid parking areas and free zones.

Avoid parking in areas marked for specific purposes, such as emergency zones or spaces reserved for people with disabilities. Non-compliance with parking rules may result in fines or towing. 

Read our comprehensive guide about parking zones in Dubai to learn more.

Following these simple tips will help you drive safely in Dubai, making your journey enjoyable and worry-free.

Unusual Driving Rules in Dubai

If you're driving in Dubai or planning to visit any other Emirate, there are some traffic laws that might surprise you. These rules, though not widely known, play a significant role in ensuring road safety and maintaining the city's unique charm.

Keep Your Car Clean

Living in the Emirates means dealing with occasional sandstorms. While it's understandable that cars may get dusty during these events, leaving your vehicle dirty for too long could cost you. Residents in Dubai Municipality faced a fine of AED 500 for having unclean cars, as it was deemed to "tarnish the aesthetic appearance of the city." Moreover, if a dirty car is left on the street for 15 days, it might be impounded.

No Tolerance for Drink Driving

In the UAE, there is a zero-tolerance policy for drink driving. Unlike some countries where a minimal amount of alcohol is acceptable, any trace of alcohol in your system could lead to severe consequences. If caught, you may lose your license for up to a year, face fines, or even jail time, depending on court decisions.

Window Tinting Limits

Want to tint your car windows for that cool look? You can do so, but there's an approved limit. Tint your windows up to 50% to stay within the rules and maintain a stylish appearance. However, exceeding this limit may result in fines. It's crucial to be aware of these rules, especially if you're new to town or importing a vehicle.

Responsibility for Passengers' Seatbelts

In the UAE, the driver isn't just responsible for their own seatbelt; they're accountable for everyone in the car. Not only will you receive a fine and black points for not wearing your seatbelt, but if your passengers aren't buckled up, you'll face penalties for each one of them. This means a substantial fine and black points if you're caught with multiple unrestrained passengers.

Despite these laws, some residents drive without seatbelts, prompting calls for even stricter measures to promote safer behavior.

Give Camels Right of Way

camel on the road UAE

While not a written law, giving camels the right of way is a cultural courtesy in the UAE. Camels hold historical and cultural significance, being referred to as 'ships of the desert' or 'gifts from God.' While there's no specific penalty for not following this unwritten rule, it's a practice that reflects respect for the UAE's traditions and cultural symbols. Disregarding this courtesy might not win you any friends in the UAE.

Being aware of these less-known traffic rules contributes to a safer and more harmonious driving experience in the Emirates. So, buckle up, stay informed, and enjoy your time on the roads!

Keep Your Distance from Emergency Cars

When you spot emergency vehicles with sirens and flashing lights, it's mandatory to give them the right of way. Maintain a safe distance and let them pass without any hindrance. This ensures a quick and unimpeded response to emergencies, contributing to overall road safety.

Being aware of these less-known traffic rules and tips contributes to a safer and more harmonious driving experience in the Emirates. So, buckle up, stay informed, and enjoy your time on the roads!


Before you explore Dubai, know the driving rules. If you're a tourist, you can drive with an International Driving Permit or get a local UAE license. Dubai is nice because everyone can drive, and it's diverse.

Safety is important. Roads are good, but sometimes there are sandstorms. Emergency help is available if needed. Follow tips like watching your speed, paying attention to signs, and not using your phone while driving.

Dubai has some interesting rules, like keeping your car clean, no drinking and driving at all, and not tinting your windows too much. Even camels get the right of way sometimes!

Remember, drive carefully, follow the rules, and enjoy Dubai. Have a safe trip and enjoy the best destinations in Dubai to travel by car!


Who Can Drive in Dubai?

Anyone with a valid international driving permit or a license from one of the approved countries can drive in Dubai.

What Documents Do I Need?

To drive in Dubai, you'll need your international driving permit or a license from an approved country, along with other identification documents.

Can I Drive in Dubai as a Tourist?

Yes, as a tourist, you can drive in Dubai with either a valid international driving permit or a license from one of the approved countries.

Is It Safe to Drive on Your Own?

Yes, it's safe to drive on your own in Dubai. The city prioritizes road safety, and following the driving rules will ensure a secure driving experience.

Do you have any questions?

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