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Driving in Qatar – Basic Guidelines and Tips

March 13th, 2019
Driving in Qatar – Basic Guidelines and Tips

Got your driving license! Really excited to steer across Qatar, right?

Just hang on; there are certain rules and regulations everyone should follow while driving in a developed country like Qatar. Make sure you know and follow them quite humbly.

Even if you hold a valid license to drive in Qatar, before you start driving, make sure you have a clear knowledge about the roads, traffic rules, regulations, and other important aspects concerning driving in Qatar. 

The Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department, located on Khalifa Street, Madinat Khalifa is handling everything related to vehicle license and traffic violations stringently.

Moreover, all the roads and junctions are under CCTV surveillance. Hence, it is critical to follow their rules and guidelines to avoid any consequences regarding driving in the country.

Most noted traffic violations include

  • Over speed.
  • Using Mobile Phone while driving.
  • Driving without a valid license.
  • Breach of parking laws.
  • Driving without a seatbelt.
  • Wrong side driving.
  • Drunk driving and more.
  • Driving a vehicle that is not registered.

Traffic Rules are quite tough

As a matter of life and asset, the government of Qatar is pretty rigorous over the traffic rules. It has been reported that in 2017 the Qatari government has tightened its rules to get a license there. 

Under these rules, those from the countries such as the UK, Europe, and Australia were also required to take a driving test to get a license.

However, later in 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced these countries along with some other like South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and more are exempted from the driver’s license test. Nevertheless, the remaining rules stay the same for all.

If you are a car owner, you have to register your vehicles, and should renew your registration annually. The driving license in this country is based on a point system.

For each traffic violation, the driver will collect points that lose the life of the driving license. Once you reach 14 points, your license will be suspended for the next three months.

However, repetitive violations can result in long term license suspension and even cancellation of license.

Using mobile phones while driving is expensive

As usual around the world, cell phone usage is strictly prohibited while driving in Qatar. Strict laws and fines varying from QR300- QR6, 000 in Qatar are keeping the motorists from using phones while driving.

According to an official in the General Directorate of traffic in Qatar, any kind of engagement like playing mobile games, checking mobile apps or even texting message while driving will be considered a violation.

However, earlier only speaking over cell phones while driving was considered a violation. The recent statistics by the General Directorate of Traffic has highlighted that usage of mobile phones while driving has caused.
• 44.1% of minor injuries
• 52.2% serious injuries and 
• 51.6% of the overall traffic accidents

Maj Muhammad bin Jassim Al-Thani, Head of traffic at South Security Department has said that after over speed, mobile phone usage is causing more traffic accidents. 

Article (55) of the Traffic Law No. (19) / 2007 prohibits the use of the mobile phone or any other device while driving. Also, the law has fixed a fine of QR 500 on the phone user while they are driving. 

You can pay fines for traffic violations either online or by attending MoI collection office or the Traffic Department in person through the Ministry of Interior website.

Speed limit matters here

Beware of the speed cameras across the roads. The government has set the speed limit at Qatar roads as between 60-100 kilometers per hour on most city roads and the maximum speed on highways is 120 kilometers per hour.

The recent news from The Peninsula Qatar is that the Ministry of Interior has begun the mobile radar plan in certain locations such as Shamal Highway, The Pearl, Abu Hamor and more. This helps to encourage road safety by forcing motorists to follow the recommended speed limits.

Driving without a license is punishable

On June 2018, Traffic Department officials have announced that those driving without a license will be charged with heavy fines and strict punishment. 

Visitors in this country can also obtain a temporary driving license which is just valid for three months. To reduce the number of accidents, the Traffic Awareness Department has conducted a traffic awareness lecture on September 2018 at the General Directorate of Traffic.

In this lecture, the department has recommended the family as well as the schools not to allow teenagers to drive before getting a license. The department also recommended them to conduct awareness sessions for school students about safe driving.

Other Safe Driving Practices You Should Always Keep in Mind

  • The eligible age to get a driving license in Qatar is 18.
  • Always carry your driver’s license, insurance papers and car registration documents along with you while driving.
  • Passengers in the front seat must wear a seat belt.
  • Never allow children less than 10 years ages to occupy the front seat.
  • Make sure not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

While driving during rain or fog 

  • Focus on road conditions.
  • Do not sudden brake, as it can result in accidents.
  • Try not to drive through flooded roads, as your vehicle’s engine may get stuck with water.
  • Do not use high beam or hazard headlights.
  • In fog, use fog lights to improve road visibility.
  • Make sure your wipers and tires are in good condition.
  • Keep your car in good operating condition.
  • Fill your fuel tank and keep tires at normal pressure.
  • Carry drinking water, tool kit, recovery rope etc.

Hope you got a clear picture of ‘how to steer around Qatar, decently’? These few tips can keep your commute safe and secure. Not just for you, but also for others.

Many of us are already aware of it. However, let’s brush up and tell to others who are not aware of any of these must-have facts. Just keep all these tips on your mind, because it is a matter of several lives and our hard earned money.

Keep driving, be safe and have a great day.

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