Tips for Expats Driving in Doha

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Doha.
|-Tips for Expats Driving in Doha

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Doha can be a challenging experience for newcomers. The driving culture is quite aggressive with drivers often changing lanes without signaling, tailgating, and speeding. It’s important to stay alert and cautious at all times. Always expect the unexpected and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

2. Choosing the Right Car

Most expats in Doha prefer to drive SUVs due to their safety features and the comfort they provide in the harsh desert climate. However, smaller cars are also suitable if you’re mostly driving within the city. It’s recommended to choose a car with a good air conditioning system due to the extreme heat in the summer months.

3. Parking in Doha

Finding parking in Doha can be difficult, especially in busy areas like the city center. However, most residential areas and shopping malls provide ample parking spaces. Parking is generally free in most areas, but some popular spots may charge a small fee.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Qatar with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for a period of 7 days from their date of arrival. After this period, you will need to apply for a temporary Qatari driving license. If you have a driving license from a GCC country, you can drive in Qatar for up to 3 months.

5. Obtaining a Qatari Driving License

To obtain a Qatari driving license, you will need to pass a driving test. The process involves a written test, an eye test, and a practical driving test. You will also need to provide certain documents such as your passport, visa, and a medical certificate. It’s recommended to take a few driving lessons to familiarize yourself with the driving rules and conditions in Qatar.

6. Following Traffic Rules

Qatar has strict traffic rules and heavy fines for violations. Always wear your seatbelt, avoid using your phone while driving, and never drink and drive. Speed cameras are common, so always adhere to the speed limits. Also, remember that the left lane is for fast-moving traffic and overtaking.

7. Dealing with Sandstorms

Sandstorms are common in Qatar and can severely reduce visibility. If you’re caught in a sandstorm while driving, slow down, turn on your headlights, and keep a safe distance from other vehicles. If the visibility is too low, pull over and wait for the storm to pass.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

International Citizens Insurance

Cigna Global Health
Award winning International Health Insurance for Individuals and families living abroad.

Copyright 1997-2024 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal

LoginJoinPlease Login to Continue. New? Join today (it's free).
Since 1997, we've supported millions of people as they explore the world and share the adventures and challenges of living abroad.