Should you be afraid of driving in Poland? Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 in Countries, Culture, Regulations, Safety

There are many who claim Poland is one of the worst places for car drivers in Europe! I think that first time I visited Poland with my husband, he felt the same way…at least at the beginning. After few days though he started having fun! Like any time you are visiting a different country, you just have to get used to it!

First rule: never drink and drive in Poland! There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. The blood alcohol limit while driving is 0.02. If you drive and have been drinking (even 1 unit of alcohol) you can be charged.

Lights On! Belt Up! It is compulsory for all motor vehicles to use dipped headlights or daytime running lights, day and night, all year round. Seat belts are compulsory in both the front and back seats, and children under the age of 12 are prohibited from riding in the front seat. Use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited, except for “hands-free” models. The fine for violating laws against the use of mobile phone while driving is significant.

Polish drivers are, unfortunately, in the habit of speeding even in the most risky places. Apart from speed limits, other rules that are often ignored by Polish drivers are those related to overtaking: you will quite frequently see vehicles (including lorries) overtaking on double white lines and in other places where it is prohibited, dangerous or unreasonable, such as pedestrian crossings or junctions. You really have to be extra careful and make allowances for that. It is best to assume that other drivers may overtake pretty much everywhere, so be prepared to move out of their way.

can I park here? – czy tu można parkować?

where’s the nearest gas station? – gdzie jest najbliższa stacja benzynowa?

we’ve had an accident – mieliśmy wypadek

we’ve run out of gaz – skończyła nam się benzyna

could I see your driving licence? – poproszę prawo jazdy

could I see your insurance documents? – poproszę ubezpieczenie samochodu

have you had anything to drink? – pił/piła pan/pani alkohol?

Give way – Ustąp pierwszeństwa przejazdu

No entry – Zakaz wjazdu

One way – Droga jednokierunkowa

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. Bill Bojanowski:

    I had no problems driving in Poland. My biggest problems was trying to pronounce the names of some of the towns. One thing you didn’t mention was the 3 lane highways outside of the cities. The middle lane was a passing lane for traffic in either direction. We don’t have this in America.

  2. Toby:

    I drive 20km to work every day in Warsaw and sometimes I can’t believe the things people do on the road, just to get a little bit ahead of other drivers. I often see drivers here taking big risks for little gain, so I wasn’t so surprised to see 6 bad accidents, including on involving the death of a cyclist, just on my route to work, in a 2 week period in September this year. I really find the lack of respect/down right disdain for road rules displayed by some drivers absolutely mystifying. In my opinion there needs to be A LOT MORE enforcement in order to change this culture.