Being a new driver in Dubai can be tough, and really stressful if you are new to the country and no accustomed to the rules and road conduct over here.
Before I start, I would like to note that the RTA (Road and Transport Authority in Dubai) offers stickers that say “I am new driver”, which can be placed anywhere on the car to let other drivers go easy on you. Believe me, it can get really rough out there. The stickers, which will be placed at the rear glass of the vehicles, will cost Dh5 (regular) and Dh15 (magnetic), the RTA stated.
Things you should know:
- Radars cost 600 Aed per fine for speeding 21-30 km/h over the speed limit which is usually 70-80 km/h on most city roads, and 100 km/h on major highways. and go up to 3000 Aed depending on how fast you were going. A general good practice is to stay a maximum of 20km/h over the speed limit sign if you are in a hurry, the radar only snaps you when you go 20+ over the stated speed limit in the signboard respective of each street.
- People are very aggressive, and prefer to not let you in although you have your signal turned on. (You will have to learn to force your way through.)
- Some people drive fast on the slow lane, and slow on the fast lane.
- The fastest lane is the first on the left, and the slowest is the last on the right (Speed starts at 80km/h on the slowest lane on the right reserved for trucks and heavy vehicles.)
- The fast lane allows drivers to go above speed limit for emergencies, so move over if you are driving slow ( You will be flashed) Some people are just rude, and will keep flashing even if you are within the maximum speed limit. It’s up to you to move or not if you are 20km/h above the speed limit.
- People rarely use signaling before changing lanes, get used to it.
- You will be fined for: cutting in the yellow lane, not wearing a seat-belt, recklessly driving, and using your phone while driving.
- Crossing a red signal could land you in jail.. Seriously!
If you arm yourself with the right tools and the patience needed to tackle the roads, you will be fine and might actually enjoy the drive. Calm drivers avoid unnecessary trouble, just avoid rush hours like 6pm during work days if you are in a hurry.
Registering your new car:
If you bought your car new from the Dealership, they should have registered your car and provided you with insurance options.
Registering your car should be done at any of the RTA centers across Dubai called shamil (visit this link to learn more)
Insuring your vehicle:
I always tell my friends and family to make sure they insure their cars with good insurance companies that provide quality service and good rates but most of all – Insurance companies that fix your cars with official good garages. Bad Insurance companies over here will try to rip you off once you want to fix your car, and try to reel you in with cheap rates and awful garages.
Get a GPS!!
You will need it, believe me. Even experienced drivers in Dubai tend to find themselves lost in this city. Road works and new roads tend to change things dramatically.. You would be surprised to see how the city had majorly changed since 1990. You can buy this great GPS here or just use Google Maps or Sygic.