You can never be too careful on the roads in Oman, especially when driving
3 September 2017| Last updated on 6 November 2019
Take a moment to think, what is the weirdest style of driving that you have seen while driving in Oman?
Now forget about that because this is most probably worse...
A new driving trend has emerged in Oman where youngsters push their seats all the way back and use their feet to steer the car. Drivers are almost completely horizontal while driving and use the cruise control to control the speed of the car.
Combined with high speeds, this has made the already scary roads in Oman even more dangerous than it already was.
Oman has a reputation for having very dangerous roads. They are currently listed in 9th place in the world for the number of deaths on their roads each year. This is evident in the 637 fatalities and 2,815 injuries on the Omani roads in 2018 alone.
This is how you can remain safe while driving in Oman:
Stick to the speed limit
Whether you are running late or simply just playing because you enjoy the speed, it is better to adhere to the speed limit. Studies have shown that speeding does not significantly decrease your traveling time, but as we all know, it only puts people's lives unnecessarily at risk. The speed limit in Oman is 40 - 80 km/h in town, 90 km/h on open roads and 120 km/h on motorways.
Don’t drink and drive
It is always a bad idea to drink and drive but driving under the influence in Oman can land you in jail. Oman maintains zero tolerance towards people drinking and driving. If you are caught, it can land you in jail for up to 1 year and/or a fine of up to OMR 200. If you are in an accident while drunk, the penalty will become even higher.
Freshen up on your basic traffic laws
Most people study traffic laws when they need to get their license but it is usually soon forgotten once you have passed the test. It's recommended to keep track of any new driving rules in Oman as well.
Whether in your home country or living in a new country, take time to review traffic rules. Ignorance is no excuse for not adhering to the rules of the road.
Watch out for animals
There are many free-roaming animals in Oman. If you are traveling in Oman, especially between the smaller villages be aware of camels and goats walking in, or running across the road. Hitting an animal can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle so best to keep slow and stay alert while driving.
Stop for a snack break
Long trips can become really tiring after a while. If you have such a journey coming up, pack in snacks for the trip and stop frequently to take a break. Stretch your legs, have something to eat and get some fresh air before setting off for the rest of your journey.
Stop and admire the scenery
The mountainside in Oman has breath-taking views that can become quite distracting. Combined with taking frequent stops to snack and rest, pull over to admire the landscape.
The break will do you good, give you a couple of photo opportunities and help you can focus on driving rather than looking around.
Avoid travelling at night
You might be tempted to get a head start on the day by leaving while it is still dark or try and push a bit further after nightfall. The roads are, however, not as well maintained in the smaller villages and many of these roads don’t have good lighting either. It is best to avoid travelling at night if possible as these poor driving conditions can easily cause an accident.
Look before you drive over a wadi crossings
A wadi crossing is when the road is built through a dry river bed. Wadi crossings are usually dry but can become very dangerous if there is heavy rain. Water streaming down the wadi can flood your engine and even pull your car along the stream if the current is too strong. Always use the red stick on the side of the wadi to judge the depth of the water. If the stream is too strong, or deep, rather turn around.
Keep the whole family buckled up
Wearing your seat belt while driving not only helps to keep you safe while driving, but it is also mandatory on the Omani roads. According to Omani traffic rules, all passengers in a motor vehicle are required to wear their seat belts. This will also help keep little ones in their seats so that they don’t distract you by jumping around in the car.
Rather go hands-free
Playing on your phone while driving requires you to take your eyes and attention off of the road. Put your mobile device away while you are driving. If you require the maps on your device or need to make calls, ensure that your phone is connected to Bluetooth and placed in a phone holder. You will receive an on the spot fine if you are caught using your mobile device while driving.