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Dubai driving schools

Sunday 24 March 2019 (UAE)   
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Driving schools in Dubai

None of the driving schools in Dubai have an excellent reputation, or even a good reputation - there's stories of appalling driving standards about all of them. Listen to a driving safety expert (allegedly), Adam Kechil, on Dubai Eye 103.8 (a Dubai radio station) for his polite criticism of Dubai driving schools (and mostly justified, but still patronising, criticism of Dubai drivers). Catch him broadcasting after 0900 on Sunday mornings (in 2008-2009?). Most of the time he sounds like an RTA spin doctor but he does name two driving schools that are worthy of consideration:

  • Emirates Driving Company in Abu Dhabi - they have some sort of consultative agreement with Sweden
  • Emirates Driving Institute in Dubai - they have something to do with the Institute of Advanced Driving

The larger driving schools may be able to get your repeat test organised more quickly eg within a week instead of a month, which is probably the main advantage. If the rumours of monthly quotas for passing the driving test are true, then it would make sense to try and do a driving test at the beginning of the month. Some driving schools in Dubai will pick you up from and deliver you back to home or office.

Lessons of about 45 mins will cost you around 50-100 dhs each. Schools will attempt to sell you a course of 30-40 lessons but you can get that reduced if you know how to drive already - ask them to test you (there may be an additional fee).

There are about 25 driving schools with 3,000 cars in Dubai ready to unleash your pent-up road rage but not at any old time yet since the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai) have restricted driving schools to allowing trainee drivers out in public from the hours of 0900-1400 and 1500-1700 on Sat-Thu from November 2006 (previously was 0800-1330 and 1500-1900) which overlaps nicely with the rush-hour traffic generated by those residents working split shifts in Dubai. Other training hours are Fridays 0700-1100, holidays 0700-1700, Ramadan 1000-1300 and 1500-1700. Restricted areas (no training at any time) are Sheikh Zayed Rd, Sheikh Rashid Rd, Ittihad Rd, Airport Tunnel and within residential areas.

  • Al Ahli Driving Learning Institute, Chairman is Ali Bujsaim and Managing Partner is Adel Noori.
  • Belhasa Driving Centre, tel +971-4-3440276. One of the two biggest driving schools in Dubai. Their queues of learners in orange and white cars annoy everyone on the roads. Also called Balhasa Driving Learning Institute. President is Saif Ahmad Balhasa, and Director of Tests Department is Hani Kamal Mohammadi.
  • Dubai Driving School, tel +971-4-2717654. Cleverly named. Big enough to have their own testing department. Maybe the same as ...
  • Dubai Driving Learning Institute, director is Ahmad Al Aiyali.
  • Emirates Driving Institute, tel +971-4-2631100. The other big driving school in Dubai, also called Emirates Driving Learning Institute. Director is Amer Ahmad Balhasa.
  • Falcon Motor Driving School, tel +971-4-2710192. Nothing to do with Mad Max (Australians and NZers will understand).
  • Galadari Motor Driving Centre (GMDC), Al Ghusais tel 971-4-2676166, branches in Karama +971-4-3964886, Al Quoz +971-43384567, Lamcy +971-4-3350532. Website says they offer instruction for motorcyle licences too. Licenses issued at their testing center in Al Ghusais / Qusais opposite the cattle market (not for target practice). Also called Galadari Driving Learning Institute. Director is Naser Yousuf.
  • Speed Line Driving School, tel +971-4-2728285. Hopefully the 'Speed' in the name refers to how quickly you get your licence, rather than a recommended driving technique.
  • Women's Driving Academy, set up by Alix Capper-Murdoch in early 2009, a well known female DJ and race car driver in Dubai. No tel number found, try contacting the Dubai Autodrome.

If you can find a private driving instructor, you may have more flexible timings. Money saved will not be much. Finding one through newspaper advertisements is a bit of a lottery though - try asking for recommendations.

Bribes to get a Dubai driving licence
  • There are stories that payment of additional fees might accelerate the process of obtaining a Dubai driving licence through a driving school, or get one when some necessary paperwork is missing, etc.
  • Apparently there is some truth to those stories - The National newspaper reported on 10 August 2011 that Five employees of Al Ahli Driving Institute will spend six months in prison each for seeking and taking bribes from students, a court ruled this morning. ... According to records, the five took bribes to skip viewing original passport copies of students, assigning students to certain examiners, forging applications and using these forged documents by sending them to the Roads and Transports Authority to issue licences to students. No reports of what happened to the students who paid the bribes.
Driving lessons at the Dubai Autodrome Race and Driving School

This is an entirely different scenario. A lot more fun but a lot less useful for your daily commuting in Dubai.

The Dubai Autodrome has instructors who will take you for a drive around a race track in one of several different race cars (Audis, Subaru Imprezas) and then you can have a go yourself. It'll cost you between 200 and 1000 dhs depending on what you choose.

Last update Saturday 13-Aug-2011
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