Piloting your own car in Abu Dhabi is not substantially different than in most western countries. The roads are in excellent shape, well lit at night and the numerous signs are bilingual Arabic/English. Traffic follows the U.S.A. convention of driving on the right. Most cars on the road are of a newer vintage and in excellent repair. Many are worth much more than most middle class annual salaries! However, there are some unique differences the visitor should be aware of:
- Avoid the left lane on the highway. Some drivers consider this as their own personal racetrack and speed limits are rarely enforced.
- The city center is very congested so expect to sit in gridlock frequently. Keep a pocketful of patience with you at all times.
- There are no numbered street addresses. Navigation is by landmarks or directions only.
- You will need an International Drivers’ License to rent a car in Abu Dhabi. Get one before you leave home at your local automobile association.
- Abu Dhabi is a melting pot of cultures and the many different driving styles range from amusing to maddening. If you encounter the latter type keep your middle finger retracted, it is illegal to wave this particular extended digit around and you could land in jail.
Renting a car for a road trip is fine but if most of your journeys are within the city, save some frustration and take one of the numerous and cheap taxis.