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Rules of UAE's E30 Truck Road

The "truck road" as we, and I think just about everyone else in the UAE, calls it, is a road that goes through the Emirates, connects Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Whenever we drive from Dibba, Oman to Dubai, we take the mountain road to the truck road and then get on the Emirates Road to go into Dubai. We are all accustomed to the road, familiar with its customs and unspoken rules. Driving on this road can be terrifying, especially so if you have no idea what the unwritten rules are. Without any understanding of the 'rules,' the road seems lawless. Even with the rules, driving this road can feel like Russian roulette.

Primitive conditions

  • No lighting- The vast majority of this road is unlit. There are two places where there are lights at these stations for the big semi-trucks. Last time I drove this road, the roundabouts weren't lit. It can be nearly impossible to tell if oncoming traffic is in your lane until they're bearing down on you. 
  • No barriers- There are no barriers along the sides or between opposite directions of traffic. Piles of sand build up in the lanes during sandstorms and camels wander onto the road.
  • No reflective markers- The center line and lane lines are not reflective. There are no rumble strips to wake you up
  • Rumpled Pavement and Potholes- We took care to remember about how far along the road the really bad potholes were, so we could try to avoid them at night. It takes a strong, steady hand to maintain control if you hit one at high speeds. The pavement at the low point between to hills is rippled, I'm assuming from the heat. They make your car bounce violently for several seconds
  • Wide range of speeds- Large heavy trucks go slow and block passing lanes/shoulders while small sports cars zoom fast at breakneck speeds



The Unspoken Rules
There are no posted, enforced rules, but there is definitely a culture to the truck road. Here is what I've learned from driving on it so far-


  • The speed limit is however fast you want to drive
  • The road is two lanes with giant shoulders on each side
  • Flash your brights if you're going to overtake
  • If you're being overtaken, move onto the shoulder to make room
  • If an oncoming car is overtaking, move onto the shoulder to give them more room
  • Keep your hazards on if you're going over 140kph or under 100kph

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