Nine car crash on Sheikh Zayed Road
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: If you think you are a safe driver, simply because you are always driving within the speed limit, think again. Driving too slowly on a highway or driving in a way that hampers the movement of traffic on UAE roads is dangerous and can land you with a heavy financial penalty.

Here is all you need to know about minimum speed limits and what it means to be a ‘road turtle’.

How do I know what the minimum speed limit is?

Minimum speeds are mentioned separately on signboards, especially on highways and main roads, to ensure that slow drivers do not become a traffic hazard. Keep an eye out for road signs and you will know what the maximum and minimum speed limits are. The minimum speed limit may be mentioned on a circular blue sign.

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

How you can read road signs, to never get lost in the UAE

Fine for slow driving

If you are found to be driving slowly, you can face a fine of Dh400 in the UAE.

Additionally, if your slow driving also becomes dangerous for other drivers, you could also get four black points.

How to report slow drivers?

In a special virtual conference organised by Dubai Police this month, the police authorities responded to the query on “How to deal with ‘road turtles’ or people driving as slow as a turtle?” by educating motorists about the need to have a balanced approach when maintaining a certain speed while driving. If they do face slow drivers, they can report such incidents through the ‘We are all police’ platform. To reach Dubai Police, you can call the customer service hotline on 901, and select '5' for reporting traffic hazards in We are all police.

Driving within the speed limit is no reason for not giving way on the fast lane

If you are driving on the fast lane at 120km/h on a road which has the maximum speed limit posted as 120km/h, what should you do if another motorists drives up behind you at a faster speed? While many motorists might stick to driving on the fast lane, given that they are abiding by the speed limit, police authorities have regularly advised them to give way to a faster motorist, by moving to the lane on the right.

As reported by Gulf News, during the virtual conference this month, Prosecutor General Salah Bu Farousha Al Felasi, Dubai’s Chief Traffic Prosecutor and Head of Dubai Traffic Public Prosecution, had told motorists: “Allowing access to the left lane to other drivers is a must as we don’t know whether the other drivers have an emergency or not.”

Reacting to the story on the Gulf News Facebook page, a reader questioned what counts as an emergency and how does a motorists know that the speeding driver has an emergency? The answer is simple – you don’t need to know it. Dubai Police has issued basic guidelines that determine how motorists should use the fast lane, even launching a concerted campaign in March this year, clearly titled - #GiveWayInTheFastLane.

The five basic rules you need to know of when driving on the fast lane are:

1. Not giving way is illegal.

Keep the fast lane free, unless you re overtaking another vehicle, because refusing to give way in the fast lane is illegal.

2. Stick to the second lane.

Once you have used the fast lane to overtake, move to the lane on the right.

3. Make way, even if you are within the speed limit

In case a fast vehicle approaches you from behind, make way even if you are driving within the speed limit.

4. Don’t tailgate.

In case the driver does not make way for you, avoid tailgating and keep a safe distance from the other vehicle.

5. Emergency vehicles get priority.

Remember that the fast lane is only for overtaking and emergency vehicles always have priority.