Dubai is a city geared up for cars, and has a good and continuously improving infrastructure. With a grid-like street system it shouldn’t take you too long to find your way around either. However, if you’re planning on using satellite navigation systems they won’t help you much due to a lack of official addresses in the city at the moment; so you’ll have to get your Explorer map out if you get lost.
There are some good public transport options but most people travel by car, whether that’s driving themselves or using the generally excellent and inexpensive taxi service. Getting behind the wheel of a car is probably the best way to get the measure of the city’s numerous districts though.
Traffic during rush hours can get heavy, especially if there’s even a minor accident, but you’ll soon learn where the hotspots are and either avoid or leave for your destination at an appropriate time. There are other idiosyncrasies you’ll find too; traffic lights spring up everywhere and you can find yourself sat at a red light in an empty building site for ages. You’ll also encounter plenty of speed bumps, that even the largest 4WDs will take at crawling pace.
Other sights you may find unusual at first are the number of cars that pull over and stop on the hard shoulders of the highways. This is particularly obvious at sunset when some drivers will stop to answer the call to prayer by the side of the road. And once it’s dark, watch out for workers who loiter by the side of roads waiting for lifts back to their camp. Sometimes they can be quite close to the road and difficult to spot. People sometimes try to cross highways on foot too.
While there are government guidelines on driving, don’t count on other road users being aware of them or choosing to obey them. Cautious driving is the best approach to stay incident free.