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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For someone coming from America, what are the differences in driving in Dubai? I know I am able to get my license without much problem, but how easy will it be to interprit road signs? I hear it is pretty chaotic, but how does it compare to a large US city? The move is going to be really quick, and I don't have much time to research, so I appriciate any information including anything I may have forgotten to ask. Thanks!
 

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For someone coming from America, what are the differences in driving in Dubai? I know I am able to get my license without much problem, but how easy will it be to interprit road signs? I hear it is pretty chaotic, but how does it compare to a large US city? The move is going to be really quick, and I don't have much time to research, so I appriciate any information including anything I may have forgotten to ask. Thanks!
Chaotic is one way to describe it...

- on a 6-lane highway, expect people to suddenly cut across all 6 lanes from the fast lane, to exit right (without indicating)
- cars in the middle lane often travel more slowly than those in the 'slow' lane (no adherence to the 'keep right unless overtaking' rule)
- road signs are fairly unambiguous/easy to interpret; main problem is that the signs are often positioned right before the exit you're looking for (by which time you've missed it, necessitating a detour of 5km or more to the next intersection to be able to u-turn)
- expect to see vehicles reversing along a highway to reach a missed exit (see previous point)
- there is no right turn on red, as can be found in the US
- very few people seem to understand the correct use of roundabouts; few give way at them
- keep a 'safe distance' between your car and the car in front, and another car will immediately jump into that space (usually without indicating)
- expect no-one to give way (yield) to you, especially when merging/joining a busier road: it's dog-eat-dog
- expect to be tailgated/flashed/honked at if you are in the fast lane, adhering to the posted speed limit
- people here generally do not observe/give way to reversing vehicles (eg in a car park): this applies equally to pedestrians as much as other drivers
- drivers here use their hazard warning lights when moving (which is illegal in most western countries) to indicate that (a) they're braking; (b) there's slow traffic ahead; (c) it's foggy; (d) it's raining; (e) they are parking, amongst other things

There are many more examples; I'm sure some of the regulars will be along soon with their thoughts.

teuchter
 

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A common complaint for Americans is the lack of left turns. If you miss a turn, you will need to continue driving straight until you reach a round-about or another signal.
I never saw this as a problem till my best friend started complaining about how "In America....." :D
 

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I have no idea what this "left turn" complaint is about to be honest, you can turn left almost everywhere except on Highways which is also the case in most civilised countries too as you can't have someone slowing down in preparation to turn left while in the "fast" lane.
 

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Hand signals (of any kind) are open to interpretation and should be avoided at all times.

Any car with a less than 5 numbers on the license plate has right of way.

This also applies to any Pathfinder / Land Cruiser / Patrol - especially an old one with heavily tinted windows.
 

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It's not a big deal. I have seen worse amount of tailgating, lane hopping, and flashing in other parts of the world.

Just try to be in other people mind, imagine that most of those driving little buses and trucks (and also some of the taxi drivers) were probably driving only a bike or a scooter 5 years ago, so they just can't think the same way as you do.

What for you would be unthinkable, like not watching in the mirrors, suddenly changing lane or braking etc, they won't think twice about it.
 

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Basically be alert, I've seen some stupid drivers in the US occasionally, just expect it to happen more often in the Middle East.

I remember having a minor epiphany in Kuwait while driving. If I would look straight ahead and only use my peripheral vision to watch other drivers they would tend not to cut you off and even give way occasionally if you were merging. If I would actually do the right thing and turn my head to judge the traffic the other drivers would "own me" and practically run over my butt. Especially true in roundabouts.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
thank you all for your helpful notes. It is good to know I cannot turn right on red. That would have been my first traffic ticket! I took a look at a list of traffic signs at another website, and some are a bit different than I am used to. Hopefully I will get used to them.
 

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To the OP. Basically if you can drive, you can drive in Dubai.

That's it.

If you can't, keep off the roads.

Edited to add

thank you all for your helpful notes. It is good to know I cannot turn right on red. That would have been my first traffic ticket! I took a look at a list of traffic signs at another website, and some are a bit different than I am used to. Hopefully I will get used to them.
Jees buddy, and you wonder why there are so many fatalities here? You honestly didn't know this????

(Shakes head)
 
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