Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Poland?
Seat Belt Laws
Seat belts are compulsory and must be worn by both the front and back seat passengers.
Drinking and Driving
The maximum amount of alcohol permitted in the blood is 0.02%, if you are found to have more than that in your system you are considered in capable of driving. The police can stop you to carry out a random breath test.
Must Have Documents
The following documents should be carried with you at all times when driving in Poland:
- A valid driving licence
- Proof of insurance
- Proof of ID such as a passport
- A V5C certificate
||Type of Road
||A built up area. This will be marked with a white rectangular sign and the name of the town in black.
||In a built up area between 11pm and 5am.
||Outside of built up areas
||On A – Class roads.
||On the motorways
Minimum Driving Age
The minimum driving age for Poland is 18 years of age.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
It is illegal to use a safety camera warning device in Poland.
On the Spot Fines
Significant on the spot fines can be given for not having certain items with you when driving in Poland. These items include:
- A warning triangle
- Headlamp beam deflectors
- Motorcyclists must wear a helmet
- Rental cars should be equipped with a reflective jacket.
Child Safety Rules
A child under the age of 12 and less than 150cm tall must have a suitable car seat or car restraint. It is against the law for a child to be in the front seat without this. It is also forbidden to have a child in a backward facing car seat if the car has an airbag.
Proof of insurance must be carried with you at all times when driving in Poland and it is necessary to have a minimum of third party cover.
Rules of the Road
In Poland you drive on the right and overtake on the left. A driver should indicate to show their intention to overtake or change lanes. Trams may also be overtaken on the right. Drivers should stop at tram stops to allow passengers to cross between the tram and the pavement.
At a road intersection, traffic from the right takes priority, however vehicles on rails take precedence over other traffic.
Drivers should give way to emergency vehicles. The use of the horn is not allowed in towns, except in a situation of real danger.
It is possible to use a trailer without customs documents as long as it is no more than, 4m in height, 2.55m in width and does that have more than an overall length of 18.75m.
The traffic police are everywhere in Poland and on the spot fines can be given for speeding. The fines are low in comparison to the UK and can sometimes be negotiated on the spot. However if you are driving over 50km/h in a built up area it is possible to have your licence completely withdrawn for a period of three months.
Speed cameras are also used in Poland.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It is illegal to use your phone when driving in Poland
Pay and display is operated in most parking areas and the local authorities will charge hefty fines if this is not complied with. Clamping can also take place for illegal parking.
Motor Way Signs
Road signs in Poland are more or less identical to those found elsewhere in Europe. However warning signs are usually found on a yellow background. Such as this:
|Driving phrase in English
||Driving Phrase in Polish
|Petrol – in general
Traffic lights follow the same system as in the UK; you can only turn right at red lights if there is a separate green arrow indicated and pedestrians must be allowed to cross first.
All motorways in Poland are toll roads. These can be paid in PLN or Euros.
See our guide to toll roads in Poland here.
If you are involved in a road traffic accident you should call the police straight away and wait until they have arrived. Polish law also dictates that you should offer first aid to any accident victims and stay at the scene.
What to do in an emergency
Accidents involving animals, wild or domesticated must be reported to the police. In any accident where someone is seriously injured, the police must be called and the scene left as it was until they arrive although casualties can be moved if they are in further danger. If there are only bumps and scratches there is no obligation to call the police.
Most petrol stations are open from 08.00 – 19.00 each day and can be found in all towns and most large villages. Payment can be made in PLN or by credit card.