Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
Road conditions, lighting, and traffic safety in cities and on major highways are good. The condition of rural roads varies from good to poor. Travel between cities, especially at night, may be dangerous due to poor or no lighting, wandering livestock, and speeding drivers. The safety of public transportation is generally good. Taxis, mini vans, and small buses may swerve to the side of the road to pick up passengers with little notice or regard for other vehicles.
Local Laws and Practices: Traffic laws in Oman are strictly enforced and the consequences for violating them may be severe by U.S. standards. For example, running a red light results in a mandatory, non-bailable detention period of 48 hours, followed by confiscation of one's driver's license, vehicle registration, and car registration plate until the Omani judicial process is concluded, which may take as long as several months. Other common traffic violations that carry strict penalties, up to and including jail sentences, fines, and/or deportation, include: driving without a license, driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to wear a seat belt, talking on cellular telephones (other than using hands-free technology) while driving, speeding excessively, overtaking another vehicle, screeching a car's tires or failing to keep one's car clean. In the event of a traffic violation and fine, drivers should cooperate with police officers and should not attempt to pay or negotiate payment at the time of the traffic stop.
U.S. citizens considering driving in Oman are advised to familiarize themselves with the Royal Oman Police (ROP)'s procedures for road and traffic accidents (RTA) to reduce traffic jams, which are available on the ROP web site under “Minor Road Traffic Accidents.” Note: Minor RTA are accidents causing minor damage to one or more vehicles that do not result in injuries, deaths, or material damage to public/private properties. Parties involved in such accidents should immediately move their vehicles to the side of the road.
U.S. citizens involved in accidents outside the Muscat area are advised not to move their vehicles from the accident location until the ROP gives them permission; moving a vehicle may be interpreted as an admission of guilt.
The use of European-style traffic circles is prevalent in Oman. However, unlike European traffic practice, the driver on the inside lane always has priority. A driver flashing his/her high beams is generally asking for a chance to pass. Turning right on a red traffic signal is prohibited.
Visitors should not drive without a valid license. Short-term visitors in possession of a valid U.S. driver's license may drive rental vehicles, but residents must have an Omani driver's license. To obtain an Omani license, a U.S. citizen must have a U.S. license that has been valid for at least one year or must take a driving test. Visitors hiring rental cars should insure the vehicles adequately against death, injury and loss or damage. Residents may insure their vehicles outside the Sultanate; however, third party liability insurance must be purchased locally.
Emergency Services: A modern ambulance service using U.S. equipment and staff trained in the United States was instituted in 2004 and has been assessed as very good. It serves most of the country. For all traffic-related emergencies, the Royal Oman Police can be contacted by dialing "9999."
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.