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Driving in Poland

General Info

Poland flag

Population: 38.4m

Area: 312,685 sq. Km

Currency: Zloty (100 groszy) - PLN


Top 10 popular attractions:  

  • Wawel Castle 
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau 
  • Masurian Lakeland 
  • Slowinski Sand Dunes 
  • Malbork Castle 
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine 
  • Bialowieza Forest 
  • Gdansk Old Town 
  • Warsaw Old Market Place 
  • Main Market Square

Essentials

Driving licence:

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

Important documents:

When driving in Poland the following documents should be carried: 

  • Full, valid driving licence* (with paper counterpart)
  • 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 & regulations

Rules of the road:

  • Overtaking & 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.

  • Priority

    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.

Towing:

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:

Height: 4m
Width: 2.55m
Overall length: 18.75m

Seat belts: 

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.

Speed limits: 

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 carriage-
way
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.

Penalties:

  • On-the-spot fines

    The police can impose a fine and collect the amount on-the-spot if the motorist is not a resident in Poland.

Parking:

  • Parking regulations

    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.

Traffic lights:

  • Traffic lights

    The international 3-colour traffic light system is used.

Drink/drug driving:

  • Legal limit

    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. 

  • Alcohol

    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.

  • Price of fuel
    (April 2014)
Unleaded petrol (95 octane) 5.15 PLN per litre
Unleaded petrol (98 octane) 5.25 PLN per litre
Diesel 5.11 PLN per litre
LPG 2.30 PLN per litre
  • Means of payment

    Visitors can buy petrol with PLN or pay by credit card.

Download  a copy of our Travelling in Poland guide.

Download  a copy of our full Driving Abroad report.


Useful guides and maps

Michelin Motoring Atlas: Europe

What RAC can do for you

RAC offers great-value, flexible RAC European breakdown cover tailored to meet your needs. We also offer comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings. Whilst away, use our Route Planner for all your driving directions.

RAC can cover you against vehicle break down in Europe, with options available to suit your travelling requirements.

RAC European breakdown cover Basic and Comprehensive cover provides you with a wide range of benefits.


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 (August 2013).

Around 400,000 British nationals visited Poland in 2012. 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.

FCO TRAVEL ADVICE - know before you go - fco.gov.uk/travel

Office: British Embassy Warsaw
Street Address: Aleje Raz No 1
ZIP Code: 00-556
City: Warsaw
Country: Poland

Telephone: +48-22 3110000
Fax: +48-22 3110311

Email: britemb@it.com.pl,info@britishembassy.pl

Website: http://www.britishembassy.pl/


Office: British Consulate Gdansk
Street Address: ul Grunwaldzka 102
Zip Code: 80-244
City: Gdansk
Country: Poland

Telephone: +48-58 3414365, 3461558
Fax: +48-58 3441608

Email: consul@abcc.com.pl


Office: British Consulate Katowice
Street Address: ul PCK 10
Zip Code: 40-057
City: Katowice
Country: Poland

Telephone: +48-32 2069801
Fax: +48-32 2054646

Email: honcon@silesia.top.pl


Office: British Consulate Krakaw
Street Address: ul. Sw.Anny 9
Zip Code: 31-008
City: Krakaw
Country: Poland

Telephone: +48-12 4217030
Fax: +48-12 4224264

Email: ukconsul@bci.krakow.pl


Office: British Consulate Ledz
Street Address: ul. Piotrkowska 85
Zip Code: 90-423
City: Ledz
Country: Poland

Telephone: +48-42 6388960, 6303349
Fax: +48-42 6364116

Email: konsulatUK@klub.lodz.pl


Office: British Consulate Lublin
Street Address: ul. Beskidzka 9
Zip Code: 20-869
City: Lublin
Country: Poland

Telephone: +48-81 7420101
Fax: +48-81 7429130

Email: ukconsul@uren.com.pl


Office: British Consulate Poznan
Street Address: ul Wroclawska 6
Zip Code: 61-837
City: Poznan
Country: Poland

Telephone: +48-61 8517290
Fax: +48-61 8532919

Email: ukcons@protea.pl,info@protea.pl


Office: British Consulate Szczecin
Street Address: ul. Starego Wiarusa 32
Zip Code: 71-206
City: Szczecin
Country: Poland

Telephone: +48-91 4870302
Fax: +48-91 4873697

Email: gacszz@fnet.pl


Office: British Consulate Wroclaw
Street Address: ul. Olawska 2
Zip Code: 50-123
City: Wroclaw
Country: Poland

Telephone: +48-71 3448961
Fax: +48-71 3448961

Email: consulate@kmc.com.pl


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