Foreign Driver Rating: !! not too bad
The Emirates is, in general, a great place to drive, and it has the traffic (and high car rental fees) to prove it. Roads are usually wide and well-maintained, although watch out for speed cameras on the expressways, which are unsigned and painted dull colors, unlike in most of Europe. Also watch out for Dubai drivers, who tend to completely ignore said speed cameras and blow by at amazing speeds in their Ferraris or Range Rovers.
The main driving challenge in the Emirates is poor urban planning, which can have roads and buildings suffering from a lack of coordination about where they are supposed to be in relation to each other. Sometimes the roundabouts have more lanes than the roads feeding into or out of them, making it a little unclear what anyone in the inside lane is doing. But in general, driving in the Emirates is easier than in many European countries. The Emirates also has a lot of good off-roading options. And hiking options, believe it or not.
Visiting Hayl Castle in the UAE, a great place to drive — if you don’t mind all the traffic. Photo by the author.