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 black storks in forest A Defender on a hunt through the forests of western Poland land rover

4x4 Off Road Adventure Club Poland

Driving in Poland

 

Driving in Poland is a truely wonderful and unique experience! However, driving in Poland is not a 'piece of cake'. The main problems are:

  • the condition and design of many of the roads

  • reckless driving by unskilled drivers

  • the unroadworthy condition of many cars on Polish roads

Many of Poland's vast network of minor roads and even major roads are either badly maintained or in need of modernisation. In villages and some towns many roads are still cobbled, and in some more isolated locations, little more than dirt tracks. On any Polish road drivers should watch out for huge potholes in the road, especially in early Spring. Modern roads are often poorly designed with roundabouts, which aren't round, leading to drivers speeding across without even looking other traffic already on the roundabout, and a ridiculous half lane on the right of the road, meant for tractors, which other drivers will try and force you into with aggressive driving and tailgating! 

Many Polish drivers are in many ways very similar to drivers in Ukraine or further east. Sadly, a large proportion of drivers in Poland drive very badly and at excessively fast speeds. Testament to the crazy and reckless driving are the many roadside shrines and crosses along the roads, which mark the place where someone was killed in a road accident. Poland has one of the highest rates of road death in Europe, and fairly near the top of the list globally.

The cars on Poland's roads are on average far older and less well maintained than cars in countries like Germany, Holland and the UK. Indeed many of the cars on Polish roads were written off in accidents or through failing safety checks in Western Europe and then imported into Poland. Poland does have yearly safety checks on all cars, but, unfortunately, standards are often less than rigorous and corrupt 'testers' not unknown. In consequence, a large number of cars being driven on Polish roads are in an unsafe condition and would most certainly fail safety checks in most other developed countries.

In its favour, Poland currently has relatively low fuel prices compared with western Europe and some very attractive countryside easily accessible to anyone with a car. When driving in Poland we recommend that drivers from western Europe drive defensively and keep a constant eye on what other drivers are doing or might do.

All the same, Poland is a great destination for drivers who like a challenge and enjoy driving off road or along picturesque, uncrowded, if less-than-perfect minor roads.

 

Things you might not know about driving in Poland

  • Traffic drives on the right side and passing should be on the left!

  • Between 1 October and 1 March, all vehicles must use headlights both night and day in Poland.

  • You are required to carry a warning triangle, first aid kit and small fire extinguisher in cars.

  • Accidents must be reported to the police. It's illegal to leave the scene of an accident.

  • Trams may be passed on the right; but when a tram stops, drivers must yield to the passengers who leave the tram.

  • Buses leaving a bus stop have the right of way.

  • At Polish border crossings, especially on the German / Polish border, you may be asked to show your drivers licence, passport and proof of third-party insurance.

  • Watch out for the big trees growing in rows along many Polish roads.

  • It is prohibited in Polish law to use hand-held mobile phones while driving.

  • There is over 125,000 miles/ 200,000 km of road in Poland.

  • Speed limits in Poland are as follows: Urban 37mph/50kph Open Roads 56mph/90kph Highways 68mph/110kph. Fines are imposed on the spot and range from 100 to 500 zloties (for speeding).

  • Be careful to look out for unlit bicycles, wandering drunks, and horse-drawn wagons in country areas.

  • Car theft is fairly common in some parts of Poland. Take care of your car and anything inside it.

  • Prostitutes can often be seen along Polish highways, waiting in layby parking or in the most isolated wooded locations. Don't mistake these women for hitch-hikers ;-)

  • Important telephone numbers - Police, tel. 997; Fire, tel. 998; Ambulance, tel. 999. The mobile telephone helpline is tel. 112.

 

See also: Pictures of minor Polish roads and Road Signs in Poland

Border Crossings Poland

Offroad Club Poland

Offsite Links: 

Poland

Times Motoring

 

  The original and probably only English-speaking Land Rover and G-Wagen club in Polen!

International 4x4 Off Road Adventure Club,   Gorzow Wlkp., Lubuskie, Poland

 

Polish rules of the road - Road rules in Poland

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