Road Signs in the UAE: A Comprehensive Guide
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No matter where you’re driving, it’s absolutely essential to know the rules of the road — not only for the sake of your own safety but for the sake of everyone with whom you share the streets. The United Arab Emirates has a robust infrastructure of roads and a stringent system of legal provisions in place to ensure safe driving.
Before you get behind the wheel anywhere in the UAE, it’s crucial to be familiar with the various road signs you’ll encounter. Let’s take a closer look at the most important ones:
Important UAE Road Signs
Road signs in the United Arab Emirates typically use both Arabic and English to cater to the country’s diverse population and a large number of international visitors. Important information like speed limits and directional signage is usually presented in both languages.
Here’s a basic overview of the most important road signs to know when you’re driving in the UAE:
1. Mandatory Signs
Mandatory road signs inform drivers of the rules they are required to follow while driving on that particular road or in that particular area. Common examples of mandatory road signs include speed limit signs, directional signs like “ahead only” or “turn right / turn left,” and passing instructions like “pass either side” or “keep left/keep right.” Mandatory road signs are usually blue and may be rectangular or circular.
2. Control Signs
Control road signs indicate required actions that must be taken in specific situations. Common examples of control signs include stop signs, yield signs, “do not enter” signs, and signs indicating that pedestrians have the right of way. Control road signs take a variety of shapes and are usually red, but blue signs with white arrows may also be used to indicate the required direction drivers must follow.
3. Parking Signs
Parking road signs indicate what types of parking are or are not allowed in specific areas. For example, a sign sporting a blue circle with a red X indicates that parking is not allowed or allowed only during the specified times. Other parking signs might designate a certain area as reserved for taxis or buses, or for vehicles that are loading or unloading freight
4. Advance Warning Signs
Advance warning road signs inform drivers of what to expect up ahead. They typically precede a situation that requires the driver’s full attention — for example, a traffic light or stop sign, an intersection, or a lane ending. Advance warning signs are usually shaped like a triangle and bordered in red.
5. Prohibitory Signs
Prohibitory road signs indicate actions that are not allowed on a specific road or in a specific area. Common prohibitory songs include “no passing” signs, “no turning” signs, and “maximum height/width/weight limit” signs. Prohibitory signs are typically circular and bordered in red.
6. Trailblazing Signs
Trailblazing road signs provide drivers with navigational information. They indicate the route drivers should follow to reach common destinations like airports, hospitals, freeways, or popular tourist spots. Trailblazing signs are usually rectangular and might be green, blue, white, or brown, depending on the type of route.
7. Other Signs
These road signs play a crucial role in informing drivers about significant landmarks, including Hospitals, School Zones, and Diplomat Parking. Within this category, additional signs serve as supplementary information, providing details such as road clearance, restrictions on turning for lorries, no through road indications, priority for vehicles from the opposite direction, countdown markers, traffic diversions, upcoming lane closures, calls to reduce speed immediately, and more. These supplementary signs contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the road environment, enhancing driver awareness and promoting safer and more efficient navigation
8. Handicap Parking Sign
In the UAE, the distinctive blue and white handicap parking sign plays a crucial role in promoting accessibility and inclusivity. Marked by the universally recognized wheelchair symbol, these parking spaces are strategically located near entrances to public facilities, ensuring that individuals with mobility challenges have convenient access. All motorists must recognize and respect these designated spaces, refraining from parking unless they possess the necessary permit. Strict adherence to handicap parking regulations contributes to a more inclusive and considerate community, ensuring that those with disabilities can navigate public spaces with greater ease and dignity.
9. EXIT SIGNS
These signs provide clear guidance to drivers regarding the appropriate lanes to take before reaching an exit.
GUIDE TO UNDERSTAND SIGNS
True to their name, guide signs serve the purpose of providing directional information. These signs offer valuable details about route numbers, street names, and destinations, with text presented in both Arabic and English languages for broader accessibility.
Distinct colors are employed in guide signs, each carrying a specific significance:
• Blue – Reserved for national routes and prominently features the Emirates route symbol.
• Green – Designates local routes within Dubai, showcasing the emblem specific to the Dubai route.
• White – Indicates information about local roads, specific points of interest, or destinations.
• Brown – These signs provide supplementary information, often accompanied by symbols to describe particular destinations in more detail.
Know the Traffic Signs in the Emirates
This list includes the most important and common UAE traffic signs you’ll encounter when driving in the United Arab Emirates, but keep in mind that it’s not an exhaustive road safety guide. There are many other road signs you may need to know in specific situations. Before getting out on the road, be sure to familiarize yourself with the full range of road signs in the UAE.