5 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Hiring a Car in Dubai

With its beautiful desert landscape and fine hotels, Dubai has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Thousands of people travel to Dubai every year for tourism or trade and investment purposes. With all these people looking for affordable and hassle-free ways to commute, hiring a car has become a very popular activity.

Car rental services are more of an essential service rather than a luxury in the UAE. Many customers find rental cars comfortable and convenient compared to public transport. They find pleasure in having a choice between a variety of cars with eccentric features that suit all their unique needs. 

Most car rental companies in Dubai have an excellent reputation, however, there is always a chance that without the right information, details, and explanation, you may make a mistake that robs you money and precious moments of joy.

It might seem like an easy operation, but if you overlook the rules and regulations made by the government and car rental services, you will find yourself running into problems with the authorities.

You can enjoy great car deals, save a lot of money and enjoy a less nerve-wracking trip if you avoid these mistakes;  

  • Driving Under the Influence

It may sound a little obvious but drunk driving rules in Dubai are quite rigid compared to other countries. Unlike the rest of the world where the percentage of alcohol in the system should never exceed 50-80 milligrams/100 milliliters of blood, Dubai’s alcohol/blood rate must be 0 when driving.  

Drivers under the influence of alcohol cause approximately 14.33% of all crashes in Dubai. Dubai’s Vision 2021 aims at reducing casualties caused by drunk driving from 6/10000 to 3/10000 people. That’s why authorities in Dubai show zero tolerance to intoxicated drivers. The punishment for drunk driving is very severe; jail time as decided by courts, deportation, confiscation of the car for up to 2 months, heavy fines of up to Dh20,000, and 23 black points.

In extreme cases, your driving license may be revoked by the court for a period not exceeding two years but not less than 3 months

Why would you throw away your lovely, exotic Dubai lifestyle for an unworthy glass of Heineken or some tasteless, overpriced Chilean Sauvignon Blanc?

  1.   Giving in to Road-Rage 

It’s annoying when another driver violates the obvious road code and puts you in a dangerous position. Naturally, you may want to express your anger in certain ways. A recent Ethical Insurance and RoadSafetyUAE study reported that 58% of UAE motorists have experienced ill-mannered road rage behaviors such as blocking traffic, stopping, or retaliatory driving. 24% reportedly use foul language and 36% resort to foul gestures.

You may find yourself in the same situation; cursing or showing that careless driver an angry gesture. Well, that offending driver better not be an Emirati national. If they happen to be, you will be facing charges of insulting behavior while driving yourself. You will be required to prove your innocence over that angry gesture or outburst of strong language.


Road rage gets worse from one driver to the next. It is a leading cause of accidents and physical altercations. In Dubai, it is criminal behavior to engage in road rage. If the courts can prove that your actions caused intentional harm, you will be prosecuted and given jail time.      

Try your best to hold your tongue and control your anger no matter how much you are provoked.

  1.   Using Airport Car Rentals Companies

Whether you are a resident or a visitor just arriving in Dubai, renting a car at the airport may seem highly convenient because they are readily available. However, this option is not cost-efficient because companies operating in the airport pay higher taxes that reduce their profit margins.

The extra costs trickle down to the customers, which is why you should never expect pocket-friendly car rental deals at the airport.  

You can get to your pick-up location by making prior arrangements with a rental company outside the airport. Many car rental companies offer free pick-up and drop-off services within a certain radius.

You can also take hotel shuttles to get to town or a non-airport location where you can hire a car.

Booking an Uber to the nearest car rental company is another cost-effective option.

  1.   Not Doing a Thorough Inspection of the Car

Damages are a big deal for car rental companies. They will charge you heavy fines if you return the car with any noticeable damages.

You know how the policy statements start, “In case of any damage….” Make sure you have read the documents well to understand the charges and fines that apply.

You should also do a thorough inspection of the car before stepping out of the rental lot. Take photos of any damages with your smartphone and show them to the car rental company. They should mark the damages you highlighted on your paperwork.

The common damages and things you need to pay attention to include;

  •  Cigarettes burn on car seats.
  • Dents, scratches, and chips outside the car.
  •  Efficient working of headlights.
  • The tank should be full.
  • Check whether the car uses diesel or petrol. If you are not sure, ask for clarification from the agent.
  • Before you head off, set the GPS/sat nav in a language you understand.
  • The air con and stereo system should be in perfect working condition.
  •  Indicators should be working.
  •  Make sure the mirrors are adjustable.

If you are not keen on checking the car, you may also fall victim to cunning fraudsters. If you are not careful, they will give you a vehicle with serious damage and then charge you for the damages upon its return for their own profit gain.  

  1.   Never Exceed the Renting Period

You have been entrusted with a valuable possession. Try your best to return it by or before the deal’s expiration day. Extra charges will continue to pile by the hour of the car not being returned.

Take pictures or videos of the rental car inside the parking lot once you drop it off.

More importantly, never cross borders with a rental car. Your insurance cover may not cover locations outside Dubai. Going beyond accepted borders will result in additional charges and heavy fees. Cross the country using public transport and rent another car to use while you are there.