Pedestrian traffic rules in the UAE

father and son crossing the road at a zebra crossing walk

Pedestrian accidents are quite common in the UAE with research statistics showing that they account for 30% of road deaths in Dubai. The rise in pedestrian fatalities from 33 to 49 deaths between 2015 and 2017 resulted in campaigns to improve pedestrian safety. Both motorists and pedestrians should maintain safety on the road. Wecashanycar examines pedestrian traffic laws in the UAE.

The top 5 traffic rules affecting pedestrians

  1. Use safe crossing areas. Most pedestrian accidents occur in the form of run-ins when pedestrians are crossing the road. Even though jawalking is a traffic offense punishable by AED 400 fine, some pedestrians still risk it. You should use designated crossing points such as zebra crossings, with or without traffic lights, pedestrian bridges and underpasses. Motorists recognise these as dedicated areas for crossing and slow down for pedestrians, reducing the chances of run-ins. Where there is no dedicated crossing area, you must make sure that the road is clear before you cross. You should make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road to alert them that you are on the move. In addition, you also ought to look out for any flash or signal that drivers send out to you before crossing the roads.
  2. Ensure child safety on the road. If you are walking with children, you must prioritise their safety. You can do this by holding their hands and ensuring that they walk on the sidewalk. You must also teach your children traffic rules to ensure that they are safe on the road in your absence.
  3. Use sidewalks. Sidewalks are designed to keep you off the road and protect you from speeding vehicles. Using sidewalks therefore keeps you safe. Where there are no sidewalks you should keep to the left of the road so that oncoming motorists can see you.
  4. Avoid using your mobile phone while on the road. You need to be cautious when crossing the road and avoid distractions such as mobile phones. If you use your phone while crossing the road you might not see oncoming traffic.
  5. Turn down your music. If you have earphones on while taking a walk, it is important to reduce the volume so that you can hear oncoming traffic.



Top 4 traffic rules affecting motorists

Motorists too have a huge responsibility of enhancing the safety of pedestrians on the road and there are laws that guide them on how to treat pedestrians.

  • Obey traffic lights.  The UAE traffic laws have stiff penalties for motorists who jump red lights and breaking them can attract a fine of AED 1000 and 4 black points. Besides controlling vehicle movement, traffic lights are also dedicated for pedestrian crossing. Jumping red lights can therefore endanger the lives of pedestrians and should be avoided at all costs.  

  • Slow down at zebra crossings. Some zebra crossings might not have traffic lights and as a driver you ought to use your discretion at such points. Failing to give way to pedestrians at a zebra crossing is a violation punishable by AED 500 and six black points. You should slow down at any zebra crossing to allow pedestrians to cross the road safely. Furthermore, you must also slow down in corners, bends and areas with high footfall and no designated safe crossing.
  • Be extra cautious when driving in child zones. The reduced rate of accidents in children zones in UAE is attributed to road safety awareness campaigns and high penalties for motorists who fail to slow down or stop at children crossing areas. You should therefore exercise extra caution when driving near schools, playgrounds and other areas where children cross the road.
  • Do not use your phone while driving. Using your phone at pedestrian crossing areas might seem innocent but can easily distract you, causing unnecessary accidents. Besides, it is illegal to use your phone while behind the wheel in the UAE and can attract a fine of AED 400 plus 4 black points.


Ultimately, obeying pedestrian traffic laws can help to protect pedestrians and motorists, preventing accidents and fatalities. You can subscribe to the wecashanycar blog to get updates on traffic regulations and driving tips.


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