Driving in Oman | ExpatWoman.com

Driving in Oman

Oman is a safe country and even the driving isn’t that bad but you always need to be aware and never get complacent on the roads.

Posted on

18 July 2013

Last updated on 29 June 2017
Driving in Oman


The Omani government have gone to great lenghts to ensure that driving in Oman is a pleasant experience. The roads are in excellent condition and are lined with trees. For a desert country there is a lot of greenery and nature to be seen. Unlike other Middle Eastern countries there are mountains and wadis (valleys) here making the sights truly wonderful to behold while driving. Not only are they great to see but if you have the right set of wheels, the mountinous regions and the wadis are great to experience while driving. It is easy to use your vehicle as a mode of transport through some very exotic and seemingly unreachable areas.
The drivers in Oman have generally better habits than in most other GCC countries, never-the-less they tend to display little patients with slower drivers. Overtaking is a must whether it is safe to do so or not, and isusally done without any warning or indicators. Tailgating is a way of life for most people here and while being tailgated may be a frightening experience for first timers it is important for drivers to keep calm and carry on - driving that is. Skills in defensive driving are a great skill to have when on the Roads of Oman. Remember that just because your host country is driving like a headless chicken, it does not mean that you have to. If some one is desperate to overtake, let him. If someone is tailgaiting and flashing, move over to the next lane when it is safe. If you are not driving at breakneck speeds stay out of the fast lane.

If you are feeling timid do not slow down, try driving close to the speed limit as a slow diver on a fast road is just as dangerous as a reckless one.
Oman is a dry and desert country with temperatures in summer often reaching heats of up to fifty degrees celcius. Rain only comes a few days a year, however it often results in sever flash floods that tend to claim both vehicles and lives. Therefore never drive through water in this country unless you are 100% sure it is safe to do so. If you are not used to driving in the rain take care. Then it rains just a little, the rain mixes with the sand and makes the roads more slippery than when it pours and washes the roads clean. always be aware of the following distances, but especially in the rain. 

Camels and goats often wander onto the road – with disastrous consequences in Dhofar during the khareef, when locals continue to drive at the same speed regardless of the fog. After rain, the roads are exceptionally slippery. Failing brakes on mountain roads, beguiling soft sand and a salty crust called sabkha (that looks and feels hard until you drive on it) are further common hazards. As a rule, always stick to the tracks: if they suddenly stop, it’s time to reverse!

The roads in Oman can be compared to the best anywhere in the world. Driving here is a pleasurable experience. The condition of the asphalt is excellent, traffic lanes are well defined, signals, driving regulations and guidelines clearly posted at regular intervals. Motorways link Muscat with all major cities and towns in Oman. There are excellent roads leading to Dubai. An international driving license is valid in Oman.

The speed limits are generally higher than that in European countries and are often diregarded by drivers, however there are many speed cameras and the fines for speedy are hefty. The speed limits and road signs are displayed in both arabic and english making them easily understood. 

Local residents and expatriates may be required to take a driving test before a license is issued.
Vehicles are driven on the right side of the road. It is essential to carry vehicle documentation and driving licenses and it is mandatory to call the police for any accident however slight it may be.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence and is strictly prohibited.