Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Saudi Arabia?
Seat Belt Laws
Since the year 2000 it has been compulsory to wear a seatbelt for all drivers in Saudi Arabia.
Drinking and Driving
Drinking alcohol in Saudi Arabia is strictly forbidden and the penalty for being in the possession of alcohol is severe. Please do not drink and drive when in Saudi Arabia.
Must Have Documents
- Full British driving licence
It is useful to carry with you: Vehicle registration documents, identification and proof of insurance.
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Minimum Driving Age
The legal minimum age is 18 years of age. It is quite likely, however that you will see boys as young as 12 drivers, especially if you are visiting the rural areas.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
On the Spot Fines
You can be fined for numerous driving violations; here are some to make a note of:
- Driving a non-registered vehicle
- Driving a vehicle without number plates
- Making changes to the vehicle in any way
- Not abiding by the lanes on the main section of the road
- Reversing a vehicle on a main road (except in emergency)
- Parking in an undesignated area or on the expressway.
Child Safety Rules
Children under 12 must have an appropriate car seat or booster.
A minimum of third party insurance is required for driving in Saudi Arabia.
Rules of the Road
It may sometimes seem like the locals do not follow any rules of the road in Saudi Arabia. However it is strongly advisable to follow the usual rules of the road as punishment for not abiding by then can be very serious.
There are no specific laws in regard to towing in Saudi Arabia, but please make sure that the towed vehicle is securely attached.
In 2010 an automated traffic control and management system was introduced by the government (SAHER). This monitors speeding and other traffic violations. If SAHER catch you speeding, they will send you a text to say you have been fined. Fines increase with time and can become very expensive.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It is illegal to use a phone when driving in Saudi Arabia.
Avoid parking in undesignated areas; fines will be issued if you are caught parking in a prohibited area.
Motor Way Signs
Major road signs are in Arabic and English and are largely similar to what you would expect to find in Britain.
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Drivers must stop at a red light. Traffic lights signals will be familiar to UK and USA citizens.
There is a toll road on King Fahd Causeway. This costs SR25 for small cars and SR35 for vehicles transporting vehicles.
What to do in an emergency
Try to move off the main road in an emergency. The number for the traffic police is 993. For an ambulance or a medical emergency the number is 997.
Fuel is very cheap in Saudi Arabia and is in fact one of the cheapest places for fuel in the world.