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Guidelines for Safe Driving in Dubai

10 September 2015

One of the most important safety rules to be followed always is that the driver and the person seated next to the driver should wear a seat belt (as per Article 33, Executive By-law, UAE Federal Traffic Law No.21, 1995). This rule has to be followed at all times, even if you are only driving a short distance, and particularly, as a driver, wearing a seat belt compulsory.

Seat belts, not only hold you securely in place, but also help you control the car when in a crash situation. Seat belts protects one and all in the vehicle, as serious injuries often occur when people are thrown into each other or parts of the vehicle, and seat belts protect from such injury. Even pregnant women need to use a seat belt to keep themselves and their unborn child safe.

dubai driving tips

Car seat for toddlers and children

  • Always keep your child in the back seat and use the best safety restrain for your child's size. The child safety seats and belts need to be used correctly.
  • Car seats are designed to absorb some crash forces and spread the remaining crash forces over larger area of the body. But, the infant’s body, particularly the neck, is not strong enough to withstand the crash forces when seat is facing forward. Rear-facing car seat distributes the crash force along the entire back placing less trauma to one part of the body. This is the reason that babies and children are advised to take the rear seat. Also, care should be taken not to place the rear-facing car seats on front passenger seat, as deploying airbag can lead to fatal injuries to the infant.
  • When your toddler is of the permitted weight for rear-facing seat, you can switch the child safety seat to forward facing position. When your child outgrows forward-facing child safety seat with an internal harness, you can use a belt-positioning booster seat. This booster seat can be used until they reach about 145cm height (i.e., about 4 to 8 years of age).
  • All children have to drive in the back seat of the vehicle until they are 13 years of age.

Driving in fog

Fog seems more like a cloud as it is formed when temperature dips very low and invisible water vapour in the air condenses to form suspended water droplets. Fog can be patchy, dense or light, leading to visibility problems, which in turn can lead to dangerous driving conditions. Usually fog appears during early morning hours during start or end of summer in the UAE.

driving in fog

Some safety rules to be followed when driving in foggy conditions are:

  • Drive slowly and at a speed that suits the conditions.
  • Ensure that full lighting system of your vehicle is turned on, and use low beam headlights as high beams tend to reflect off the moisture droplets in the fog leading to less visibility. In case your vehicle has fog lights, use them along with using low beams to improve visibility.
  • Avoid changing lanes and overtaking, and remain patient. Make use of pavement marking to guide you. It is better to stick to the right-edge of the road as a guide, rather than take the centre line.
  • Maintain a distance from the vehicles ahead of you, as the extra distance can help to brake safely if required.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open for any hazards that may be ahead. Reduce distractions like music or cell phone and focus completely when driving.
  • Always keep a watch for operated warning signs if any, and keep looking as far ahead as possible.
  • Windows and mirrors should be clean, and use defroster and wipers to maximize your vision.
  • In case you are unable to drive due to dense fog, pull completely off the road and park your vehicle in an area away from other traffic, turning on your emergency lights.
  • Before you begin your drive, check for forecasts and road reports if there is warning or reports of poor visibility and driving conditions, and if so, delay your trip until conditions improve.
  • Do not brake suddenly in the middle of the road, as vehicles behind you may not see you in time. Also do not pick up speed suddenly, coz as the fog seem to be clearing, you may find yourself in fog suddenly again. Do not try to overtake any vehicle.
  • Also, do not continue driving if the fog is too dense and visibility is highly reduced.

When dealing with school buses

Few things to be taken into consideration when driving for safety of school buses:

school bus in dubai

  • Take extra care when driving near schools always, as children may be around moving in or out of school. These are the busiest hours of the day and children do not have strong sense of safety when they are very young. Beware of the speed limit in the area, as it should be lower than the surrounding roads. Further, flashing lights will also tell you that you are approaching a school.
  • The school buses may stop for several minutes if there are more students boarding or alighting at certain locations. As young children are not as cautious as adults and are unpredictable when they alight from the bus, caution should be applied when driving.
  • School buses, irrespective of their size need to travel and stop smoothly. Hence it is better to give them due consideration and stay clear of them as much as possible.
  • Do not over-speed or apply sudden brakes when near school buses as students may run out of scare and cause danger to themselves.
  • On the whole, it is always better to be extra cautious when there are any school buses nearby.

Bus and Taxi lanes in Dubai

The Dubai Government has taken sincere measures to improve public transport system in Dubai. One such measure is the allocation of separate lanes for Dubai registered Public Transport Buses and Dubai Taxis. Police cars, ambulance and other emergency service vehicles are the only other vehicles that are allowed to pass through these lanes. The lanes are marked and segregated by solid yellow lines on either sides of the lane close to the edge on extreme right. There are large Arabic and English text read as only bus taxi. There will be signs at the beginning and end of designated bus and taxi lanes with blue background and white lines and white text with images of bus and taxi. There will also be a sign that reads Bus/taxi Lane Begin or, Bus/taxi lane End.

Locations of these exclusive bus and taxi lanes are:

  • Al Mankhool Road (Satwa roundabout to Sheikh Rashid Road)
  • Al Khaleej Road (Khalid bin Al Waleed Road to Al Musalla Road, opp. Hyatt Regency Hotel).
  • Khalid bin Al Waleed road (from intersection with Al Mina Road upto Road 12).

However, as far as possible, use the designated lanes for use by private cars. These are lanes outside the marked areas for taxis and buses, as if you use the bus and taxi lanes illegaly, you may disturb the free movement of these public transport vehicles.

Moreover, the bus and taxi lanes are monitored by the Dubai Police officers and accredited by RTA officials. If caught driving through these lanes illegally, a fine of Dh.600 is charged.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries