Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: Whether you are driving in a school area or on a highway, it is important to know the legal speed limits on a certain road.

Driving too fast or too slow is not the only problem on UAE roads. Sometimes, you are just driving at the wrong speed compared to the road you are on. According to Abu Dhabi police, ‘inappropriate speed’ is among the major reasons behind accidents in the emirate.

Here is all you need to know about speed limits in the UAE.

What are the speed limits?

This traffic sign indicates that the maximum speed limit for light vehciles is 110km/h and for heavy vechiles, the maximum speed limit is 80km/hr. The blue sign indicates that the minimum speed limit for the road is 60km/h. Image Credit: Gulf News

While each road has its set limit, which is mentioned on signposts along the stretch of the road, you can have a fair idea of what the speed limit might be by the following rule:

  • If you are in a parking area or a service road, the maximum speed limit is 25km/h.
  • If you are on a city road with a single lane available for each direction - referred to officially as an urban single carriageway - the speed limit is 40km/h.
  • If you are on a city road with separated lanes for each direction - an urban dual carriageway - the speed limit is 60km/h or 80km/h.
  • In the internal areas of the UAE, when you are driving on rural roads, the maximum speed limit is 100km/h.
  • On highways, the maximum speed limit can vary from 100-140km/h for light vehicles. The speed limit will be provided on signboards along the route.

Follow these limits, unless you see a sign that tells you otherwise.

For a complete list of Dubai road speed limits, click here.

Most radars click cars speeding at 20kph over the maximum speed limit. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Most radars on UAE roads give motorists some leeway if they drive above the stated speed limit. Except Abu Dhabi, which announced in 2018 that it would be scrapping the buffer, most Emirates allow drivers to go 20km/h above the speed limit without being penalised.

For example, if you are driving on Al Ittihad Road in Dubai, the maximum speed limit as mentioned on road signs is 100km/h.

However, if you hit 101km/h, you will not be caught by the radar, as the rules give you a buffer of 20km/h.

So, the moment you cross a radar at the speed of 121km/h, you will be fined Dh300.

Dh 300

Fine for exceeding the maximum speed limit by over 20 km/h

Depending on how fast you are driving, the severity of the penalty is increased to deter dangerous driving. If you are caught driving 30km/h above the speed limit, you will be fined Dh600, and for going over 40km/h, the fine is Dh700. For going over 50km/h, you will have to pay Dh1,000. Violations above this carry much heavier fines and black points, along with confiscation of the vehicle. If you would like to know more about the fines, a list of all the traffic violations can be found here.

Overspeeding becomes a big issue on UAE roads, with some drivers using speeds over 200km/h.

Also read

A public service announcement by the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi, informing motorists that they would no longer have the speed buffer in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Driving in residential areas

Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Motorists need to take extra precautions when driving in residential or school areas. While at times the roads might be clear, it is best to drive below the maximum allowed speed limit as accidents can occur when motorists try to speed because of low traffic.

Depending on the area, the speed limit can vary from 25km/h to 40km/h. In Dubai, the Roads and Transport Authority has also installed interactive road signs that provide personalised messages to motorists depending on the speed of their vehicle.

Many deaths have taken place because of distracted driving in school areas and police authorities regularly issue advisories to motorists to be cautious.

Driving too slow

Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Another serious traffic violation is when drivers are too slow on roads with fast-moving traffic. A car driving well below the road’s speed can become a serious road hazard, which is why minimum speed limits are posted on most major roads

Dh 400

Fine for driving a vehicle below the minimum speed limit set for the road

So, the next time you are unsure of what the speed limit is, be alert, look around to see which type of road you are on and drive safely.