Country-specific travel advice
Select the country you will be travelling in to see motoring information and advice, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.
Driving in Poland
Visitors riding or driving in Poland must have reached the minimum ages laid down for residents of Poland even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence.
A valid UK licence is accepted for stays up to 6 months.
International driving permits (1949 or 1968) are recognised but not compulsory
When driving in Poland the following documents should be carried:
- Full, valid driving licence*.
- Proof of insurance/green card (third party or above).
- Proof of ID (passport).
- Proof of ownership (V5C certificate).
While driving in Poland you are required by law to carry the following items. Hefty on-the-spot fines can be issued for failing to carry specific items:
- Warning triangle: Compulsory in every vehicle with 4 wheels or more.
- Headlamp beam deflectors: Depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually.
- Lights: It is compulsory for all motor vehicles to use dipped headlights or daytime running lights, day and night, all year round.
- Motorcyclists: Motorcyclists or moped riders and their passengers, must wear a crash helmet at all times. A child up to the age of 7 years may ride a motorcycle or moped as a passenger without a helmet if the speed does not exceed 40km/h.
- Reflective jacket: Although it is not compulsory for foreign registered vehicles, foreign drivers renting a car in Poland will have to make sure the hired vehicle is fitted with a jacket.
Rules of the road and regulations
Rules of the road:
Overtaking and passing
Drive on the right, overtake on the left. A driver must show his intention to overtake or to change lanes by indicating.
Overtaking is prohibited:
- In the face of oncoming traffic.
- At intersections.
- At bus or tram stops.
- At uncontrolled pedestrian and cycle crossings.
- At railway crossings.
- Where space does not permit overtaking without risk.
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, drivers should stop to allow passengers to walk safely between the tram and the pavement.
At the intersections of roads of equal importance, traffic from the right has priority, except in the case of vehicles on rails which take precedence over other traffic.
Vehicles already engaged in roundabout traffic have right of way over approaching vehicles.
At the approach of an emergency vehicle (police car, fire engine, ambulance) with the signals in action (flashing blue lights and two-tone siren), drivers should give way and make its passage as easy as possible.
Warning of approach
Use of the horn is forbidden in towns, except in cases of immediate danger.
Caravans, camper vans and luggage trailers can be temporarily imported without customs documents. However the importer must have a list in duplicate of the contents in order to assist Customs officers.
The following dimensions for vehicles with trailers must not be exceeded:
Overall length: 18.75m
The wearing of seat belts is compulsory for the driver and front seat passenger of all vehicles travelling on hard surfaced roads, both inside and outside built-up areas. The wearing of rear seat belts is compulsory in vehicles which are equipped with belts at the rear.
Travelling with children:
Children under the age of 12 years old and less than 150cm in height must be restrained by a seat belt adapted to their size or seated in a special seat. If the car is equipped with airbags at the front, it is prohibited to place a child in a rear facing seat on the front passenger seat.
In built-up areas the speed is split between the hours of 05:00 to 23:00 (50km/h) and 23:00 to 05:00 (60km/h) unless indicated by signs. In residential zones speed should be kept to 20 km/h.
Outside built-up areas:
|Motorway||Express road with 2x2 lanes||Express road with 2x1 lane||Dual carriageway||Other road|
|Private car, motorcycle, lorry up to 3.5 t||140 km/h||120 km/h||100 km/h||100 km/h||90 km/h|
|Car towing a trailer or caravan||80 km/h||80 km/h||80 km/h||80 km/h||70 km/h|
Anti-radar equipment which interferes with specific radio frequencies to jam police signals is prohibited.
The police can impose a fine and collect the amount on-the-spot if the motorist is not a resident in Poland.
Parking regulations follow those given in the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic.
Waiting (up to one minute) and parking are prohibited where the vehicle might cause an obstruction or endanger other road users
Enforcement of parking regulations
Wheel clamps are used in Poland.
Illegally parked cars causing an obstruction may be towed away and impounded at the expense of the owner.
In both cases the driver is subject to a fine.
Disabled parking access
Disabled motorists holding a disabled driver’s card/badge are entitled to special parking concessions. They can park the vehicle in areas where parking is normally restricted or prohibited.
The disabled card/badge must be displayed behind the windscreen of the vehicle.
The international 3-colour traffic light system is used.
The maximum level of alcohol in the blood permitted is 0.02%. Every driver with more than 0.02% alcohol in the blood is considered incapable of driving any vehicle.
The police are empowered to carry out random breath tests. A test is compulsory in the case of a serious motoring offence or after an accident which has caused injury.
Availability of fuel:
There are filling stations in all towns and large villages. Most are open from 08:00 to 19:00. In large towns and along international routes, stations are open 24 hours a day.
Means of payment
Visitors can buy petrol with PLN or pay by credit card.
Useful guides and maps
Michelin Motoring Atlas: Europe
Source: All information in this document is sourced from the AIT (Alliance Internationale de Tourisme) & the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) and, to the best of the RAC’s knowledge, is correct at the time of publication (May 2016).
- Still current at:
- 30th Jul 2016
- Updated at:
- 29th Jul 2016
- Latest update:
- Latest update: Summary – link to information and advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe, following the result of the EU referendum
Information and advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe, following the result of the EU referendum.
World Youth Day (WYD), which is expected to attract up to 1.5 million pilgrims, will be held in Krakow and the surrounding Malopolska region from 26 to 31 July 2016. This will place additional pressure on local infrastructure, including the availability of hotel accommodation and access to the public transport system. See this information and advice page on WYD published by the British Embassy.
You should expect some disruption to travel during WYD. Poland has imposed temporary border controls at all of its national borders until 2 August 2016 (shortly after WYD finishes). Be prepared for increased controls and possible delays at border crossing points. You should be prepared to show your passport and for stricter security checks throughout Poland.
Around 650,000 British nationals visited Poland in 2014. Most visits are trouble-free.
If you need to contact the emergency services in Poland call 112.
There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism
Driving in Poland can be hazardous. See Road travel
If you hold dual Polish and British nationality, the British Embassy may only be able to offer limited consular assistance.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
British Embassy Warsaw
Office: British Embassy Warsaw
Street Address: Aleje Raz No 1
ZIP Code: 00-556
British Consulate Gdansk
Office: British Consulate Gdansk
Street Address: ul Grunwaldzka 102
Zip Code: 80-244
Telephone: +48-58 3414365, 3461558
Fax: +48-58 3441608
British Consulate Katowice
Office: British Consulate Katowice
Street Address: ul PCK 10
Zip Code: 40-057
Telephone: +48-32 2069801
Fax: +48-32 2054646
British Consulate Krakaw
Office: British Consulate Krakaw
Street Address: ul. Sw.Anny 9
Zip Code: 31-008
Telephone: +48-12 4217030
Fax: +48-12 4224264
British Consulate Ledz
Office: British Consulate Ledz
Street Address: ul. Piotrkowska 85
Zip Code: 90-423
Telephone: +48-42 6388960, 6303349
Fax: +48-42 6364116
British Consulate Lublin
Office: British Consulate Lublin
Street Address: ul. Beskidzka 9
Zip Code: 20-869
Telephone: +48-81 7420101
Fax: +48-81 7429130
British Consulate Poznan
Office: British Consulate Poznan
Street Address: ul Wroclawska 6
Zip Code: 61-837
British Consulate Szczecin
Office: British Consulate Szczecin
Street Address: ul. Starego Wiarusa 32
Zip Code: 71-206
Telephone: +48-91 4870302
Fax: +48-91 4873697
British Consulate Wroclaw
Office: British Consulate Wroclaw
Street Address: ul. Olawska 2
Zip Code: 50-123
Telephone: +48-71 3448961
Fax: +48-71 3448961