Guide to road safety and driving in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a country located in the Middle East. The official name of the country is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The population of Saudi Arabia is approximately 35 million people, and the capital city is Riyadh.

The climate in Saudi Arabia is generally hot and dry, with temperatures often reaching over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). This can make driving conditions challenging, particularly for those not used to driving in such conditions.

There are several things that drivers need to be aware of when driving in Saudi Arabia. So let’s get to it:

Road Rules And Safety In Saudi Arabia

Common road accidents in Saudi Arabia have led to strict rules being implemented by officials. To ensure you avoid driving violations and having a stressful trip, read on to learn about the different traffic laws in the Kingdom.

Legal Driving Age

If you are 18 years old or above, you can start driving in Saudi Arabia. If you feel like you need more experience before taking on the roads, you can always hire a professional driver.

Required Documents

When driving in Saudi Arabia, you must have the following documents with you at all times:

– Your national driver’s license that is valid in your home country

– Your passport

– Your car registration

– Your insurance papers

If the police stop you, you must show these documents. Make sure they are easily accessible so you don’t waste time fumbling through your glove compartment when pulled over.

Seatbelts

All passengers in the car must wear seatbelts at all times, with no exceptions. Saudi Arabia has a national seatbelt law that requires both front passengers and rear-seat occupants to buckle up, as well as a child restraint law. According to this second law, children four years of age and below must use a car seat, while those under ten are not allowed in the front seat. If you are caught not wearing a seatbelt, you will be fined.

Speed Limit

No matter how good of a driver you are, it’s essential to stick to the speed limit. Overspeeding is common among young Saudi drivers and is one of the primary causes of fatal accidents in the country. The maximum speed allowed on highways is 120 km/h, while the limit in urban areas is lower at 50-60 km/h. If you exceed the speed limit, you will be fined.

Driving Under the Influence

It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Saudi Arabia. If you are caught driving while intoxicated, you will be arrested and could face jail time. In addition, the blood alcohol limit in Saudi Arabia is 0.03%, which is much lower than the 0.08% limit in many other countries. Therefore, even a small amount of alcohol can put you over the limit. If you plan on drinking, it’s best to take a taxi or public transportation.

Driving Directions

It’s important to know which side of the road to drive on before getting behind the wheel. In Saudi Arabia, you must drive on the right-hand side. In intersections with no stoplight or other traffic control, you must yield to vehicles from the right. If you encounter a roundabout, yield to any vehicles already inside of it. When overtaking another vehicle, ensure it is safe and necessary to do so. Remember that since you drive on the right side of the road in Saudi Arabia, you will pass other vehicles on the left.

Parking

If you’re looking to park your vehicle, plenty of options are available. Metered car parks cost approximately SAR 2 per hour and can be found throughout the city. If you don’t want to spend money on parking, numerous on-street parking areas are free. Just keep in mind that since there are a lot of cars in Saudi Arabia, it may be challenging to find an open spot. And, finally, to be safe, always park in well-lit and populated areas and don’t keep valuables in your car where they can be seen.

Traffic Road Signs

In Saudi Arabia, it is imperative to pay attention to road signage when driving because enforcement of traffic rules is lax, and drivers are aggressive. Each country has signs that are unique to them, and Saudi Arabia is no different. However, common international symbols are also used.

Overtaking Rules

Drive defensively and be cautious of other cars on the road, especially when overtaking or passing. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia has a high rate of car accidents due to disregard for traffic laws. Make sure you allow enough space between your car and the one you’re trying to pass, as well as checking that there’s no oncoming traffic in the lane you’ll be moving into.

Basic Car Maintenance Checks

Before driving, it’s always a good idea to check that your car is in good working condition. This is especially important in Saudi Arabia, as extreme heat can take a toll on vehicles. Make sure to check the following:

– The engine oil level and quality

– The coolant level

– The condition of the brakes, including the brake fluid level

– The tire tread and pressure

– The condition of the battery

– All of the lights, both interior, and exterior

If you’re not familiar with car maintenance, it’s best to take your vehicle to a mechanic to have it checked before driving.

Things to Avoid Doing While Driving

In addition to the things already mentioned, there are a few other things to avoid while driving in Saudi Arabia.

– First, don’t use your phone while driving. This includes talking on the phone, texting, and using apps.

– Second, don’t eat or drink while driving. It’s best to wait until you’re parked to have a snack or drink.

– Third, don’t drive if you’re tired. If you feel like you might fall asleep at the wheel, it’s best to pull over and take a nap.

– Fourth, don’t speed. This is always a good rule of thumb, but it’s vital in Saudi Arabia as speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents.

– Finally, don’t honk your horn unnecessarily. In Saudi Arabia, honking is generally only used to indicate danger, so use it sparingly.

In conclusion, these are some of the most important things to know about driving in Saudi Arabia. By following these tips, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the roads.

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Steve has vast experience in writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures.