Saudi Arabia Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Saudi Arabia Road Rules
Check your government’s website for the latest information before driving in Saudi Arabia, especially any of the country’s border egions as there may be travel advisories in force covering these regions.
Saudi Arabia drives on the right and speed limits are 100-140kmh on expressways, 90km on rural roads and 40-80kmh in urban areas. You can drive for up to 6 months using your own photo licence if you come from the following countries- Gulf States, the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. Other countries drivers need to apply for a Saudi licence from the Ministry of Transport, which may require taking a practical test, depending on your nationality. More details can be found on their website. Although legally drivers from the above mentioned companies can drive using their own licence, I have seen reports of car rental companies not allowing this for insurance reasons, so suggest checking when reserving a car. Saudi Arabia has a strict, zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs. If you’re caught driving under the influence here, a jail sentence is the likely outcome.
Roads in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has a road network of 220,000km, with around 25% of roads being paved and 4000km of well maintained, multi-lane high speed expressways. Main roads in the country are-
Dammam – Abu Hadriya – Ras Tanura Highway 257 km
Khaybar – Al Ola Highway 175 km
Mecca – Madinah Al Munawarah Highway 421 km
Riyadh – Dammam Highway 383 km
Riyadh – Sudair – Al Qasim Highway 317 km
Riyadh – Taif Highway 750 km
Taif – Abha – Jizan Highway 750 km
Medina – Tabuk Highway 680 km
Jeddah – Al Leith – Jizan Highway 775 km
Jeddah – Mecca Highway 80 km
In 2018, the maximum speed limit was increased from 120kmh to 140kmh on the following roads – Mecca-Medina, Riyadh-Dammam, Riyadh-Al Qassim and Riyadh-Taif.
Saudi Arabia famous for its long, straight roads through desert areas. Two roads in particular are rated in the world’s top 3 – Highway 10 which runs in a virtual straight line for 256km through the desert from Haradh to Al Batha, near the UAE border. Highway 85, however, is reckoned to be the straightest road on earth. It runs for 1116km from the junction with Highway 5 at Jubail on the Gulf coast to Turaif near the Jordan border with scarcely a bend!
There are currently no toll roads in Saudi Arabia, but news reports in late 2019 suggested that the government has plans to introduce tolls in the near future.
Driving in Saudi Arabia
The long straight roads and multi-lane highways make Saudi Arabia the perfect location for those who enjoy driving at high speed. Speeds are generally much higher than you would experience in Europe and USA. Driving styles can be extremely aggressive, with high speed undertaking and weaving between lanes a common occurrence. Accidents are common, as you’ll notice from the number of cars with bumps and dents. In the event of an accident, the police may take all parties involved to the police station and hold you there until responsibility is decided upon. This could take several days.You shouldn’t underestimate the distance between major cities in Saudi Arabia so plan ahead and make sure you have adequate supplies in case of breakdown – it may take a long time for help to arrive. If driving in desrt regions, ensure you have enough fuel and water in case of breakdown. Take a mobile phone and let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to arrive. Beware of wandering camels, especially at night. Other possible hazards in rural areas are sandstorms and flashfloods which can occur after heavy rain when dry river beds flood and can affect roads passing through or over them.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Saudi Arabia Car Rental –
Sixt, Hertz, Europcar,Avis, Budget, Thrifty have branches throughout the Kingdom.
We currently have no local car rental partners in Saudi Arabia. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on DriverAbroad.com please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on ADriverAbroad@Outlook.com
Saudi Arabia Self Drive Rules-
Sixt allow cars to be driven in Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.However it looks like this may be limited to Saudi citizens.Budget allow cross border rentals only if you have a Corporate account with them. They also have rules preventing visitors on Haj and Umrah visas renting . Hertz don’t allow vehicles to be taken out of the country.