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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Should all new UAE residents have to take a driving test before hitting the nation's roads?

Take our poll on whether licences should be issued without a fresh test

A learner driver takes to the wheel in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
A learner driver takes to the wheel in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

For many UAE residents, the thought of a driving test takes them on a trip down memory lane to an era when they were probably still in their teens, still in education and excited by the potential freedom about to come their way.

But what if you had to do it all over again?

Experts in the UAE have called for all new residents to sit a test before they take to the country's roads.

The prospect would leave some concerned as to whether they are now better drivers than when they took their test in their home country. And could they get to grips with the ins and outs of the UAE's traffic laws?

Take our poll below to let us know your thoughts on whether new licences should be automatic:

Learners in Abu Dhabi currently have to take between 10 and 30 hours of lessons while drivers in Dubai take 20. There are differences in the tests between each of the seven emirates, but officials have said they are exploring a standardised test for the whole country.

Concerns have been raised that driving conditions in the UAE are far removed from those in other nations around the world.

“This is unfamiliar territory for a lot of people. They are like a fish out of water, the environment we have here is vastly different," said David Greer, chief executive at Serco Middle East, which runs Dubai Metro, at Serco Middle East's annual road safety event in Ghantoot in yesterday.

As it stands, if you have moved to Dubai and you hold a driver's licence from your home country you can simply transfer your licence, as long as it is from one of the following nations:

Where you're from in the world will determine what process you will need to go through to get your licence
Where you're from in the world will determine what process you will need to go through to get your licence

Information on Abu Dhabi is rather more scarce, but The National understands that licences from the following countries can simply be transferred: the United Kingdom, United States, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Turkey, Canada, Poland, South Korea, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Romania, Singapore, Hong Kong, Estonia and GCC countries.

Those who are not on the above lists have to go through the process of taking lessons and sitting a test.

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Read more:

An essential guide to getting your UAE driver's licence: how to transfer or start from scratch

Learning to drive in the UAE: Are motorists fully prepared for the challenges ahead?