With so much on offer all over the country, car hire is a great way to see it all in the time that you have and to your own timetable. It will allow you to visit areas that you otherwise may not get to see.
Some of the roads in Poland are quite narrow and streetlights can be dim in the cities. Be prepared for slow moving agricultural vehicles and horse and carts in rural areas. Despite these points, driving in Poland is a unique and rewarding experience. Polish driving laws can be strict but if you make yourself aware of the rules of the road before you leave, you will be sure to enjoy your driving experience in Poland.
Tips for driving in Poland
You must carry your registration papers, insurance documents, and driving licence on you at all times, however it is advised not to leave them in the vehicle.
Which side of the road do you drive on?
Drive on the right, overtake on the left. At the intersections of roads of equal importance, traffic from the right has priority. Vehicles already on the roundabout have right of way.
Trams must be overtaken on the right. Drivers may use the part of the road provided for trams but they must free it as soon as a tram or other vehicle on rails approaches.
At tram stops where there are no pedestrian islands, cars must stop to allow passengers to disembark.
If fitted, seat belts must be worn at all times by all occupants of the vehicle. Children under 10 are not permitted to sit in the front seat.
Driving with children
Children under 12, and shorter than 150cm must use a child restraint system suitable for their size and weight.
Children under 3 in rear facing child safety seats can be placed in the front seat if the airbag is deactivated.
Blood alcohol limit
Drink driving laws are very strict. The maximum permitted level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. If you are between 20mg and 50mh you will be banned for driving between six months and three years, and face a prison sentence of up to one month.
If you are over 50mg, you will be banned for between 1 and 10 years, and face a prison sentence of up to two years.
Can I use a mobile?
It’s illegal to use a mobile unless you have a hands free kit or a headset.
Reflective vests, triangles & other essentials
Polish registered vehicles are required to carry a fire extinguisher, warning triangle, first aid kit, and a reflective vest.
Do I need winter tyres?
Winter tyres are recommended (particularly in rural areas) but not a legal requirement. In mountain regions, there are road signs indicating when the use of snow chains are compulsory.
On the spot fines
Polish police can impose a fine and collect payment on the spot if the motorist is not a Polish resident.
Horns and headlights
Use of your car horn is illegal except in an emergency. You are required to flash your headlights should you need to warn another driver. The only exception which permits use of the horn is during poor visibility.
It is compulsory for all motor vehicles to use dipped headlights or daytime running lights at all times.
What should I do if I breakdown?
If you breakdown, you should put on a reflective jacket and place the reflective triangle 30m behind the vehicle to warn other drivers. Call the supplier who will be able to advise you further.
It is recommended you contact ourselves at the same time to ensure you follow the correct procedure.
What should I do if I have an accident?
If you’re in an accident, you MUST notify the Police and the car rental provider and get an accident report for insurance purposes. Failure to do so may result in you footing the whole bill. It is recommended that you contact ourselves at the same time to ensure you follow the correct procedure.
In Poland there are some toll roads which use two systems:
- Open Toll: The tolls are collected at toll booths situated on motorways. The toll depends on the type of vehicle.
- Closed toll (viaTOLL system): The tolls are collected at toll booths situated on access roads, on junction roads and additionally on the final sections of motorways. The toll depends on the type of vehicle and the distance covered.
Current toll roads in Poland
A1: Rusocin to Nowa Wieś
A2: Świecko to Konin
A4: Katowice to Kraków