How to drive in Saudi Arabia?

Basic rules of the roads and driving requirements.


Saudi Arabia has a comprehensive road network that comprises some 100,000 miles of roads, facilitating civilian travel and commerce.
Driving is on the right, and the middle lane of a three-lane road is the “slow” lane.
Driving habits are generally poor, and accidents involving vehicles driven by minors are not uncommon.
Women are not allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia, and a woman can only travel by car if accompanied by her husband, male relative or male driver.

Roads and Motorways

Many of the inter-city roads to expressways accommodate anything up to eight lanes for traffic. Some of the more important inter-city highways are:

Dammam - Abu Hadriya - Ras Tanura Highway (257 kms)
Khaybar - Al Ola Highway (175 kms)
Makkah - Madinah Al Munawarah Highway (421 kms)
Riyadh - Dammam Highway (383 kms)
Riyadh - Sedir - al Qasim Highway (317 kms)
Riyadh - Taif Highway (750 kms)
Taif - Abha-Gizan Highway (750 kms)


Speed detection devices are in use in the country, and there are standard fines for exceeding the speed limits. There are automatic jail sentences, or corporal punishment for some driving offences.


Urban areas 45 kph
Motorways 80 to 120 kph


The minimum age to drive in Saudi Arabia is 18.

Drivers Licence

You can drive in Saudi on an International Driving License and some national licenses for up to three months, after this you need a Saudi license. Some licences, including those from the UK and US, are convertible to a Saudi licence without a driving test.
International Driving Permit is required for vehicle rental.


Car insurance is compulsory. If an accident occurs in which someone is injured, it is the usual practice for everyone involved to be taken to the local police station while responsibility is determined. Under Islamic law blood money of up to SR 100,000 can be imposed for injuries, so it is important to take out insurance to cover this. If you are held by the police, you should contact your own Embassy or consulate.


Traffic accidents 993
Police 999
Ambulance 997
Fire 998

Sources: Saudi Arabia Expat Tips / The Saudi Arabia Information Resource / U.S. Department of State / Expat Focus / Worldworx / The Saudi Network / Travel Document Systems