Driving is an economical way to travel in Abu Dhabi, although heavy construction and traffic can make navigating the roads here frustrating. Most rental cars are new, automatic, and air-conditioned. Rates vary considerably, and are usually cheaper when booked in advance online. Comprehensive insurance is essential (including personal accident coverage).
Abu Dhabi's roads are excellent, if increasingly crowded. Traffic signs are well marked and written in both English and Arabic. Speed limits range from 60 to 80kmph (37-50 mph) on city roads, and from 100 to 120kmph (62-75 mph) on highways. Driving is on the right-hand side. Seat belts are mandatory, as is use of hands-free devices when using a cellphone behind the wheel. Children aged 9 and under are not allowed to sit in the front seat. Anyone involved in a traffic accident must wait at the scene until the traffic police arrive to make a report. Call tel. 999 to report the accident.
Three bridges connect the island of Abu Dhabi with the mainland, and modern highways lead to Saadiyat and Yas Islands. An eight-lane highway connects to Dubai, which takes between 90 to 120 minutes to reach.
Although Abu Dhabi's roads are in good shape, standards of driving are poor. Traffic accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in the U.A.E. Local drivers in particular often drive at very high speeds. Unsafe driving practices are common, particularly on inter-city highways such as the Sheikh Zayed Road. On highways, unmarked speed bumps and blowing sand create additional hazards. Some visitors find it's simpler to take taxis rather than deal with renting a car and driving themselves.
Petrol (gasoline) in Abu Dhabi is available at stations operated by Emarat, EPPCO, and ENOC. Gas is less expensive in Abu Dhabi than in most Western countries.
Abu Dhabi taxis are safe, plentiful, and relatively inexpensive. They're the most common form of transportation for those without cars. It's generally easy to flag one off the street, or you can order one from any of the numerous cab companies regulated by TransAD (www.transad.ae/en). The starting daytime fare is AED 3 for pickup followed by AED 1 per kilometer (nighttime rates are slightly higher). Abu Dhabi has 11 taxi companies offering fixed metered rates. Most taxis are air-conditioned Toyotas or Nissans. One reputable option is National Transport Company (tel. 02-622-3300).
Abu Dhabi Municipality is expanding its network of public, mostly air-conditioned buses to serve popular areas of the city, including the airport, Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall, Tourist Club Area, and Breakwater Area, with fares starting at AED 1. The central bus station is located on Hazza Bin Zayed Road. The Emirates Express offers a bus service between Abu Dhabi and Dubai for AED 15 each way, and there's now a bus service from the central station to Al Ain, as well. For information, contact the Department of Transport Bus Office (tel. 800-55555; www.visitabudhabi.ae).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.