The first thing an expatriate working in Saudi Arabia needs to remember, if caught in an accident, is not to move your vehicle till the police arrives. Do not be bothered about the traffic behind you. Typically, your iqama would be taken away by the police when they arrive. You have to go to the traffice police station, where everything would be in Arabic.
I would advise all expatriates to never ever drive your vehicle without a license and an insurance. You must always carry these along with you, including your istemara (car registration card). Make sure that you have a photocopy of your iqama always in the car, because you will have to attach this with other documents in the police station. Preferably, go in for a comprehensive insurance, rather than a third party insurance which is mandatory.
Never ever sign any document in the police station unless you are sure of what is written above. Call your Government Relations Officer or your sponsor to the police station. If you are caught in a situation where you are forced to sign somewhere, do so but with the sentence above saying "I do not understand what is mentioned above". Believe me, this would save you from a lot of trouble.
Once, a Saudi driving a GMC hit my car from the rear while I was waiting at the traffic signal for the lights to turn green. The boot of my car was badly damaged. Anywhere in the world, if someone hits your car from behind, he is at 100% fault. When I reached the police station, I could not understand a word of what was being spoken. The GMC man and the cop had a very long conversation. I was finally asked to sign a form (all of which was in Arabic). In good faith, I trusted the cop and signed it, thinking it was some kind of a First Information Report.
When I visited the police station the next day with another Saudi friend to assist me with the translation, I was shocked to know that I had actually signed a document in which it was mentioned that everything was 100% my own fault and that I am absolving the other party of any liability! I protested saying that I signed under duress, without knowing what was written above and under instruction from the cop, but it was of no use.
Thankfully, my car had a comprehensive insurance. The insurance company initially refused to pay, saying that whenever someone hits your car from the rear it was 100% the fault of the other party, but I stood my ground and said that it was a comprehensive insurance which meant that the company had to pay, irrespective of whose fault it was. Finally, a compromise was reached in the office of the Captain, the highest officer in the police station, where the insurance company, the other party and I had to share the cost of repair. It left me with an experience I would never forget and without a car for over 20 days! It sometimes made me wonder whether I was better off without a car.
I have always wondered about the psyche of these people. How many every times have we seen cars while waiting at the traffic lights, to slowly inch ahead and almost stand bang in the middle of the cross section of the road obstructing the way of other cars! All this, just to ensure that they are the first ones to zip ahead of other cars when the lights turn green, as though following any other car is below their dignity!
One of the important things which expatriate drivers in Saudi Arabia need to keep in mind is to control one's road rage. There are a lot of idiots on the road and if someone wants the first right of way, give him the same rather than trying to compete with him. And finally, do wear your seat belts, keeping in mind that you have a family back home waiting for you. Wishing you a safe driving in the year ahead!