Driving in Al Ain

DRIVING AROUND AL AIN

Driving in Al Ain and the UAE is quite an experience! People drive at quite high speeds and when on the road it is best to keep your focus and drive defensively.

To get anywhere in Al Ain can take 20 to 30 minutes depending on the destination. The roads are of an excellent standard and are generally laid out in a grid format. At most of intersections in Al Ain, traffic is controlled by roundabouts. These can be a little unnerving at first, especially with three lanes entering and exiting, but after a few trips new drivers will become expert at navigating these busy intersections. Generally the traffic flows well and people do not often find themselves stuck in a traffic jam.

Being a hot desert country means that people are more active in the evenings and the roads are often busiest after dark when people are out and about.

 

Here is a list of things to consider when driving in and around Al Ain:

  • Plan your trip of destination – know where you are going and the best way to get there safely. It can be useful to purchase a GPS or use an app to navigate the city.
  • Consider times and routes based on traffic congestion. For example: Avoid school road 7am to 8am on weekdays, this is due to high traffic volume.
  • Implement a couple of route options – have a couple of route options, e.g., to and from school dropping children off. Again this will allow you to get to where you want to quickly and safely.
  • Allow enough time – traffic movement can be unpredictable. Give yourself an extra 10 minutes (either way) to allow for sudden traffic stoppages and for unforeseen circumstances.
  • Drive to the conditions – if it’s raining, slow down and be prepared to stop, even if the person in front or behind is not! When it rains in Al Ain, the rain becomes a sheet on the road and conditions can become dangerous. If you suddenly apply your brakes, your car will lock and begin to slide. Slow down and get to where you want to safely.
  • Speed limits – traffic movement is something that requires patience and constant vigilance. Speed limit signs are well indicated and as a rule of thumb, you can drive up to 19kmph over the speed limit within that area. Remember, speed limit signs are not targets! Drive to the conditions.
  • Vehicle maintenance – ensure your car receives regular servicing as driving around Al Ain adds digits to your odometer and the desert climate can be hard on vehicles. This will also minimise breakdowns on your vehicle and lessen the likelihood of you being stuck on the side of a road in scorching weather!
  • Have a mechanic’s contact details – if your vehicle should break down, it is very handy to have a mechanic’s details in your phone. They will either come and see you or send a tow truck to pick up your vehicle.

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  • Roundabout rules:
  • When you are approaching a roundabout and you would like to take the first exit, you must be in the far right lane (or outside lane).
  • When you are approaching a roundabout and you would like to take the second exit, you must be in the middle lane.
  • When you are approaching a roundabout and you would like to take the third exit, you must be in the far left lane (or inside lane).
  • You must give way to traffic that is already on the roundabout.
  • Do not switch lanes whilst on the roundabout.
  • Ensure you use your indicators at all times and ensure other drivers around are aware of your intentions, well in advance.