Generally, the average number of miles included in a contract is between 124 and 155 per day — it can be less for what they call premium vehicles.
Off-road driving is not part of any rental agreement, so if you want to do that, stick with a tour company — they know what they’re doing and how to handle the desert conditions best — you don’t want to break your rental contract.
Make sure you drive within the Emirates’ borders — there is plenty to see here without needing to venture abroad and, besides, you can save that for another trip!
Everything you need to know about car insurance in Dubai
UAE law states that all Car Rental Dubai vehicle agreements include Third Party Liability (TPL) insurance. This covers injury and damage that may be caused to other drivers, passengers and vehicles in the case of an accident that is deemed your fault.
It’s not uncommon for many of the rental companies to also request a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), which covers any damage to the vehicle, but does not cover personal injury to you as a result of an accident. It’s also worth noting that it usually doesn’t cover things like the roof, windshields, tires or the vehicle’s undercarriage.
You can opt for a Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW), which is obviously more expensive and covers everything above the deposit. Then there is the Full Insurance option (about AED 91–110 per day), which includes personal injury insurance and roadside assistance, but still requires a deposit.
Rental vehicle excess is often included in comprehensive travel insurance policies and provides injury cover, but global travel insurance companies will usually only allow you to claim expenses if you have the necessary agreement in place with the hire company and can prove you haven’t acted recklessly if there’s an incident.
Good things to know when renting a car in Dubai
if you are planning to Car hire Dubai then must know that most hire companies in Dubai will require a deposit of some sort to cover any loss or damage to the vehicle while it is in your care.
You will get this back should the car be returned in the same condition you received it in. Luxury cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis often require a much heftier deposit, in line with their value. Expect to fork out anywhere between AED 918–312 for a standard vehicle, and between AED 4957 and AED 10,099 for a supercar.
There are several toll points across Dubai and a couple in neighboring Abu Dhabi. All of them are signposted with red and white Salik signs.
All rental vehicles are fitted out with toll tags, which register when you drive through them — the chargeable amount is added to your rental account and you’ll fix the company up for those when you pay your final bill.
Abu Dhabi’s gates are different in that you are only charged tolls during peak times — between 6.30am-9am and from 4.30pm-7pm during the working week, which is now Monday to Friday. Rental companies generally add an extra dirham, so keep that in mind when checking your final rental ledger.
Any fines you acquire will be listed with the rental company and, again, you will be given a rundown of these when you return the vehicle at the end of the rental period.
What you should know about driving in Dubai
The road network is well designed here, but can be a little confusing at times. As with any destination, you need to verse yourself in the road rules before hitting the highway.
Driving is on the right. This should be no problem for American travelers, but for those from Australia and the UK it will require a side switch, not to mention, double the concentration.
And it’s kilometers, not miles, per hour. If you’re used to miles per hour, you’ll need to adjust to kilometers per hour as that’s what the signage signifies.
Be aware of minimum and maximum speed zones. You shouldn’t go any slower than 60km/hour on busy highways; that is as dangerous as going too fast and you must remain in the slow lane.
Maximum limits are generally 120km/hr but on some motorways outside of the city, they can be as fast as 140km/hr. Generally, speeds range from 40km/hr to 100km/hr, depending on where you are in the city.
Speed cameras are everywhere. Even if you can’t see them, they’re there. The UAE is serious about road safety and fines can be eye-watering, so make sure you remain within the assigned limit and move over safely if you need to.
Watch out for road hazards. Not so much on the major freeways, but this is the desert and there have been occasions when camels, gazelle and goats have wandered onto the road.
On busier stretches, sometimes debris from another car can become airborne at speed or a rickety truck might pull out of the slow lane without looking, so just have your wits about you and try to avoid any kind of distraction while you’re driving.
Drinking and driving, no way. Alcohol is illegal in the UAE, which means there is no legal amount of liquor allowed on your breath. Fines can be as much as AED 25,000 and you could face jail time.
Seatbelts are mandatory. All passengers must be restrained and no one under the age of 10 can sit in the front passenger seat. Fines start from AED 400 per person.
Avoid rush hour where you can. The roads are the busiest between 6.30am-9am and 4.30pm-7pm with commuters and school buses moving around.
Waze is a lifesaver. The navigation app got me through my time as a road-using UAE expat. You can download it through Google Play or the App store and it is up to date and accurate, but just be aware of international data fees.