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What you need to know:

  • Reader discusses driving in Dubai and how it is not difficult. 
  • The reader shares her experience, hoping to help others. 

Upon my arrival in Dubai as an expatriate, I was advised to get a driving licence. The advice was usually followed by a sarcastic warning that getting a licence in Dubai was a Herculean task. Some people even compared it to obtaining an educational qualification.

Most people complain about the process being difficult and expensive. Having been driving in India for almost a decade, I applied for the driving licence very confidently. I was under the impression that I was a safe driver with good driving skills, as I had no history of any traffic violations back home.

As soon as the training classes started with the instructor, I realised that all my driving skills, which I was very proud of, were dangerous. So the most important part of the process was to ‘unlearn’ the driving skills I had back home.

This was the most painful part as old habits die hard. But the experienced instructors are the real rescuers in this situation. In just the first class he could gauge my shortcomings and overconfident errors. So the key is to keep all that aside and learn the right and safe way to drive.

The training was focused to make me learn to drive within the speed limit of the road, reading the signs, identifying symbols and anticipating potential road hazards.

I learnt that driving safe didn’t mean driving slow. When we move slowly, the other drivers have to manoeuvre around us, creating confusion on the road. This could mean increasing the risk for all.

Following and focusing on the training and instructions of the driving instructor, is the only key to learn how to drive. All the instructions are very professional and easy to get along with.

After completing my twenty classes and clearing the internal assessment by the institute, I was braced to take up the final test, which is divided into two parts - a computerised parking test and the final road test conducted by the Road and transport Authority (RTA) examiner. The parking test is easier than the road test.

On the day of the final road test, I felt like a ball of nerves because people told me that nobody passes in their first attempt. But, as soon as I met my RTA examiner, I felt relaxed. I drove with confidence, with my common sense prevailing all the time, and with the skills I learnt in my training.

I passed my exam in the first attempt. I felt as if a knighthood or an important title was bestowed upon me! Having ‘earned’ my license in one go shall be one thing I will be boasting for a long time. I felt over the moon because of the relatively less time and money I spent, compared to people around me. Looking back I think being presentable, courteous, relaxed and confident put me at ease.

The process is smooth, and it’s a fair system. The only issue I had was the hole the hefty fees made in my pocket.

The city of Dubai has an amazing road network. The roads are well made, maintained and great to drive. I wish other people happy and safe driving.

- The reader is a dubai-based dermatologist