Speed limits on UAE roads are very clearly defined and marked. On every road you enter — whether internal streets or highways — the speed limits will be clearly mentioned on signboards.
In all emirates except Abu Dhabi, a ‘speed buffer’ of 20kmph is applicable. Radars on the roads are set at 20kmph more than the stipulated speed limit. This means that you can travel at 120kmph on a road that has a speed limit of 100kmph. The radar will register a speed violation if you travel at 121kmph or more.
However, Abu Dhabi did away with the speed buffer system in 2018. The stipulated speed limit in the emirate is the actual one. So, on a 100kmph road in Abu Dhabi, radars are set at 100kmph, which means a violation will be registered if you travel at 101kmph or more.
Buffer to remain, no plan to unify speed limits
Back in 2021, a member of the Federal National Council had suggested that the speed buffer be cancelled on all UAE roads.
However, traffic authorities said there were no such plans as the buffer was designed based on traffic flow in each emirate. Speed limits cannot be unified as they are set based on technical reports submitted by road and traffic engineers in each emirate.
Changing speed limits on Abu Dhabi roads during foul weather
In Abu Dhabi, weather is monitored by a ‘smart system’ that automatically reduces the speed limit during adverse weather or foggy conditions. In the event of poor visibility (when visibility has dropped to less than 200 metres), the speed limit is reduced to 80kmph.
The modified speeds are displayed on electronic information boards — both overhead and temporary ones. The police also send out alerts on their apps and social media channels.
Radars are reset to the temporary speed limits automatically.
There are eight separate fines for speeding offences that range from Dh300 to Dh3,000. This is because the fine increases based on how fast the motorist goes over the speed limit. There is also a fine for driving below the limit, if a minimum speed has been set.
Exceeding the maximum speed limit by more than 80kmph can result in a Dh3,000 fine, 23 black points and 60-day vehicle confiscation.
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