Throughout the Middle East, petrol is cheap compared with European countries but with usually only two grades available: 'Super' (or mumtaz) is 98 octane and equivalent to four-star; this is the best quality and generally cleaner than regular petrol (benzin). Service stations are few and far between in remote areas and on many desert roads, and for this reason it is advisable that you keep the tank filled if you intend to travel long distances. Locally produced maps often indicate the location of petrol stations.
Rental Vehicle In Dubai
When renting any vehicle, check the fine print of the contract and make sure that lights, horn, seats, starter and mirrors are all in good working order. Carefully note any damage that should be marked on a diagram on the rental agreement. Also, check whether there is auto liability insurance with the vehicle; this should always be in addition to your own insurance cover and is necessary in case someone is injured.
It is advisable to book vehicle rental well in advance of arriving in the UAE - at least by a week - and consult with your vehicle insurance broker on additional holiday hire insurance policies. Always make sure you have collision and damage insurance and personal accident insurance in place before renting any vehicle, and be sure to rent a car with air conditioning for the summer months.
Breakdowns While Driving
If driving your own car, always carry a comprehensive range of spares as parts can be expensive and hard to get if the car is of a type that isn't commonly sold in the Middle East. Tyres suffer badly on hot or stony roads and it is therefore advisable to carry at least one good spare.
Conditions When Driving
Dubai is the most vibrant city in the Gulf and the second largest of the seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates.
There are many fascinating historical and archaeological sites to see by car, as well as the natural wonders of this beautiful country.
Seat belts are mandatory. The use of mobile phones while driving is forbidden; drivers must use hands-free devices.
Driving on Which Side of the Road?
Follow UAE rules of the road and drive on the right-hand side of the carriageway.
Route Finding While Driving
For a comprehensive map of Dubai and the country, the Dubai Town Map and Street Guide is well worth buying. Not only is Dubai shown in detail, but on the back there is a detailed map of the country too.
Dubai is made up of two towns - Deira to the east, Dubai to the west - and is separated by the Creek (Al Khor), an inlet of the Gulf. The Dubai side is sometimes referred to as Bur Dubai, meaning the Dubai side, not the entire city. Deira is the city centre.
The central area of Deira consists of Beniyas Road (running along the Creek), Beniyas Square (formerly known as Nasr Square), Al Maktoum Road, Al Maktoum Hospital Road and Naif Road.
Exploring by Car
All the city roads are of premium quality. A four-wheel drive (4WD) is not a virtual necessity in the UAE, unless you plan to drive across the desert and generally partake in off-road activities. If you do intend to drive across the desert, it is recommended that you travel in convoy with people who have local knowledge.
During the summer months, a parked car becomes like an oven inside when parked in the sun; it pays to get some cardboard windscreen shades and carry a small towel for those occasions when the steering wheel is too hot to touch.
Licence Requirements For Driving In Dubai
An International Driver's Permit carried in conjunction with your national driving licence is recommended for driving in the UAE. Foreign licences are acceptable providing that you are a citizen or bona fide resident of the country that issued the licence. Always make sure documentation is carried with you at all times when driving. Police officers will expect to see documentation if they stop you for any reason. Offer the IDP first, as the officer may need to retain it, thereby leaving you with your national driving licence with which to continue your journey.
Driving into Dubai from Abroad
It makes sense for visitors to the UAE to rent rather than bring a car across borders, which can be fraught with expense and bureaucratic hassle. However, if you do need to bring a car across the borders into the UAE, it is imperative that you obtain a carnet de passage, which is a booklet to be stamped on arrival in, and departure from, the UAE. This is to ensure that you take the vehicle back with you, and the carnet can be issued by a motoring organisation in the country where the vehicle is registered. The carnet de passage requires a deposit to secure it, which can be claimed by the country in question, plus a large percentage of the value of the vehicle if an export stamp is not acquired. It is advisable to obtain a bank indemnity or carnet insurance, but the onus is on the car owner not to default. A carnet is valid for a maximum period of six months, although it is possible to get it extended near the expiry date.
In addition to the carnet, you will also need the vehicle's registration documents, and it is advisable to check with your insurance broker whether you are fully covered or whether third party cover is included. Insurers will also issue a green card on request. In the Middle East, you may also be obliged to take out local insurance of JD6, with a JD1 charge for the paperwork when crossing borders. Although not compulsory, an international vehicle registration document (or log book) can easily be obtained for your vehicle and contains headings for personal and vehicle details in Arabic, which helps to ease any problems when crossing borders.
Obtaining spare parts for some makes of car in the Middle East can be a problem. Check with your vehicle manufacturer for a list of authorised service centres it has in the countries you intend to drive through. Finally, carry a warning triangle, which is a requirement for vehicles in Middle Eastern countries.
In the event of an accident, drivers must ensure that the vehicles do not block the freeway. In the event of personal injury, the vehicles should not be moved. In any case, drivers have to wait for the police to come and produce the necessary reports.