This post covers everything you need to know about driving in Poland. Tips for renting a car in Poland you can find here.
License and Insurance
You'll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) or a valid driver's license from your home country and appropriate insurance coverage to drive in Poland. Make sure all your documents are up-to-date and valid.
Rules and Regulations
In Poland, you'll be driving on the right side of the road.
Speed limits are generally: 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas, 90 km/h (56 mph) outside urban areas, 120 km/h (75 mph) on expressways, and 140 km/h (87 mph) on motorways.
Remember that using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited, and seat belts are mandatory for all passengers.
You must yield to oncoming traffic when you want to turn left at an intersection with a green light. If there is a solid line of cars in front of you, wait until there is a safe gap in the oncoming traffic before proceeding with your left turn. Sometimes, there might be a green arrow signal specifically for left turns. In such situations, you can safely turn left when the green arrow is illuminated, as oncoming traffic will have a red light.
Turning right on red: In Poland, unlike other countries like the United States, it is generally not allowed to turn right at a red light. You should wait for the light to turn green before turning right. However, some intersections might have a dedicated green arrow light for right turns. When the green arrow is illuminated, you can turn right even if the leading traffic light is red, as long as you yield to pedestrians and other vehicles with the right of way.
Be aware of the priority to the right rule, which means that vehicles coming from the right at intersections have the right of way unless otherwise indicated.
Trams in urban areas have priority, and you should give way to them.
Fuel and Gas Stations
Gas stations in Poland are widely available and often open 24/7. Fuel is sold by the liter, and prices are displayed in Polish Zloty (PLN). It's common to find both petrol (benzyna) and diesel (ropa) at stations, with LPG (autogaz) also available in some locations.
Road Signs and Language
While most road signs in Poland follow international standards, some may be in Polish. Familiarize yourself with basic phrases and terms like "Uwaga" (Caution), "Zakaz Wjazdu" (No Entry), and "Parking" (Parking). GPS navigation systems and translation apps can be helpful in such situations.
Some motorways and expressways in Poland have tolls. These can be paid using cash, credit/debit cards, or electronic devices (such as viaKTAG). Be prepared to pay tolls when driving on central routes.
In city centers and popular tourist areas finding parking can be challenging. Look for designated parking zones (strefa parkowania), which may require payment. Pay attention to signs indicating parking restrictions and time limits.
In Poland, winter can bring snow and ice, making driving more challenging. If you're planning to drive during winter months, ensure your vehicle is equipped with winter tires and be prepared for potential delays due to weather.
By familiarizing yourself with these rules and tips, you'll be well-prepared for an enjoyable and safe driving experience during your visit to Poland. Happy travels!
Need to rent a car in Poland? Read here.