Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 June 2019

New speed limit signs in Abu Dhabi reveal big changes

The speed limit on one stretch of the capital's busiest road has been changed

Commuters drive to Abu Dhabi from Dubai as a sign warns motorists that the speed buffer has been removed in the capital. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Commuters drive to Abu Dhabi from Dubai as a sign warns motorists that the speed buffer has been removed in the capital. Chris Whiteoak / The National

New speed limit signs in Abu Dhabi have revealed significant changes to how fast motorists can drive on one of the capital’s busiest roads.

The buffer zone that allowed motorists to travel 20 kilometre per hour faster than the posted speed without incurring fines was removed on Sunday. The change was made after conducting studies on causes for traffic accidents, engineering standards and traffic density, according to the government.

Abu Dhabi Municipality deployed 18 teams to change the 4,096 speed signs across the emirate. All signs had been changed by Monday morning, the municipality said.

Across most of the city, the signs now read the speed that motorists could previously drive when the 20kph buffer was included. Signs on the Corniche displaying 60kph have been replaced with 80kph signs. A 20kph increase has also been advertised on Khaleej Al Arabi Street, so the practical limit has not changed now that the buffer is gone.

But the speed limit on the road between Deerfields Mall and Sheikh Zayed Bridge, is now 140kph, which represents a 20kph increase on the previous legal limit, taking the 20kph buffer into account on the posted speed of 100kph.

The stretch had previously permitted a 140kph limit, but it was reduced to 100kph, plus the buffer, a year ago.


Read more:

Covered signs create confusion over removal of speed buffer in Abu Dhabi

Fines said to be halved as Abu Dhabi removes 20kph speed buffer

Abu Dhabi speed limit buffer scrapped: drivers predict confusion, fines but ultimately safer roads


Drivers have welcomed the change in the posted speed limit.

Jennifer Bell, a British Abu Dhabi resident who works for a software company, drives to Dubai each day for work.

“Having one consistent speed limit on the same stretch of road is more convenient and it saves people being caught out if they haven’t noticed the speed change,” she said.

Motorists were initially confused about how fast they could legally drive as many of the covers had not been removed on Sunday morning.

But the vast majority, if not all of the new speed limit signs, have since been uncovered.

“It’s a lot clearer this morning. On Sunday, there was a lot of confusion on the roads. They were either going slower or at the previous limits,” said a Dubai resident who commutes to Abu Dhabi each day for work.

“With the 140kph signs you knew what sort of speed you could do and people were doing 130 to 140. There weren’t as many people going 100 slowing everyone down, causing a potential danger.”

Crashes on the E11 and E10, which link Abu Dhabi to Dubai, dropped by almost a third after the speed limit was reduced from 160kph to 140kph in 2011.

Also, a study by the UAE University found it had successfully reduced the variation in speed of the traffic.

Updated: August 13, 2018 09:44 PM