Anyone who's driven in Dubai has my sympathy and understands the rules on the books don't always match the rules on the road. With roads filled with everything from speedy Ferraris to plodding Fiats, driving in Dubai can be a challenging cross-cultural free-for-all.
The frequently frustrating experiences sparked a Reddit thread covering the "real rules" that govern the roads running through the city we all love. Check out our favorites below, along with a few of our own.
- Never Indicate Your Movements:
Thinking of turning? Don't use the indicator as it will give away your plans and encourage the beefed up BMW behind you to speed up. Similarly, leave the indicator on just to keep them guessing.
- Seatbelts Aren't Needed In Taxis:
Seatbelts are only needed if you are driving or in the front passenger seat. Sitting in the back seat makes you magically immune to injury.
- Tailgate Like A Boss:
They say keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Nowhere is this more true than in the competitive sport of driving in Dubai. Heck, a little bumper rub just lets them know you care.
- Always Pass In Front:
Speeding up and passing cars in front instead of slowing down and passing behind ensures you maximize your Dubai driving score by saving precious milliseconds.
- Only Brake At The Last Second:
Keep traffic moving by not stopping until that absolute last second. This will ensure the people behind you get where they're going as fast as possible... unless it causes an accident, of course.
- Always Use The Left Lane:
Regardless of how it may look, all roads in Dubai only have one lane that matters -- the left lane. Immediately merge into that lane when on the highway regardless of what speed you want to drive. Driving slow in the fast lane will teach others patience.
- Always Stare At An Accident:
Remember, your rubbernecking glances help heal the damage caused in the minor fender bender across the road. It's worth slowing down traffic. People behind you will understand.
- Wait Until The Last Second To Get Your Exit:
Life is short. Keep your options open and only change to the exit lane at the last moment possible, or maybe a little after that.
- Speeding is OK if You Flash Your Lights First:
Speeding is strictly prohibited unless you flash your lights constantly. This not only encourages the cars in front of you to get out of the way, but confuses the speed cameras by emulating their flashing.
- Pedestrians Can Easily Become Speed Bumps:
Pedestrians are part of the beautiful fauna you'll see while driving about Dubai. They may be timid at first, but enter the car's domain at intersections. Don't slow down, they are mostly a nuisance and your revving engine will encourage them to move along.
- Encourage Drivers By Honking Your Horn:
Driving can be scary business. That's why you should always honk the second the signal changes to help encourage your fellow drivers to enter the intersection without fear. What they hell, honk before the signal changes to build up their confidence beforehand.
- Remember, It's A Race:
Who are you racing? Who cares? Being first to the next stoplight is its own reward. Also, you're already 30 minutes late to meeting your friends for lunch because speeding through an episode of Vanderpump Rules isn't as fun. You don't want to be 30.5 minutes late.
- Tinted Windows Exempt You From Traffic Rules:
Are you in a Toyota Land Cruiser with tinted windows? Congrats! Not only can the haters not see you, but neither can the long arm the law. The traffic rules no longer apply. Feel free to roam around the road as you please.
While driving in Dubai can be a pain, we've heard it's worse in Abu Dhabi...
All joking aside, road fatalities are a serious problem in the Middle East. While road fatalities in the UAE have decreased in recent years to 10.9 per 100,000 (almost the same as the US), it still lags behind the UK, which has 2.9 deaths per 100,000 people (source). Stay safe and please follow the real rules.