Driving in Poland

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The roads as well as driving standard in Poland have long had a bad reputation, but in recent years the standard of both roads and driving has been much improved. The EU along with the Polish government has invested both planning and finances into the infrastructure in this region, and as it is a busy tourist area then Little Poland is lucky enough to of been one of the foremost areas to receive the rewards from the funds invested. It can now be a relatively pleasurable experience to drive in Poland, and most of the main roads are up to the standard of the rest of Europe.

One of the main problems for car drivers in Poland is car theft; this is a problem that the police have not yet been able to get control over, but with normal precautions then this is not really a vast problem. Never leave valuable items in clear view when you leave your car and never under any circumstances should you leave the keys in the car, even if you are getting out of the car to look at some problem that someone has pointed out to you. Furthermore, be careful around petrol stations and shopping centers as these are often targeted areas. When driving a more valuable vehicle then you should use secure parking when leaving the car for the night or for a longer period of time.

Car Rental in Poland.

All major car rental companies are represented in Little Poland and offer the same wide choice of car hire as you would find in any other European country. If arriving by plane then the place most people hire from is one of the hire companies that are located in Krakow airport. Besides these it can be worth searching for other companies, that are located in Krakow, offering delivery to the airport.

If staying in any of the major towns then you will find many of the international car hire companies are represented, and the process of hiring a car should be straight forward. You will need to have a valid driving license, if you are holding the older UK paper format license, then a second photo ID is often required as proof of identification. You will be able to use your passport for this or a national ID card. In addition, it is normal that the hire company requires a valid credit card in the lead driver’s name. You will need to contact your chosen hire company for full details of required documents.

If you leave the larger towns, then hiring a car can become more complicated as there are not that many major hire companies with offices in the small towns and the hire companies that are located in places like this are often not advertised and seldom have websites. One of the local companies that offers a very good service is “Top Car” based in Nowy Targ, however they do offer to pick up and drop off the cars in other locations when prearranged.

If traveling in peak season, then it is good to book the car in advance to be sure of availability, even if there are normally always some cars ready for use at the airport.

Petrol Stations.

Petrol stations are numerous, and it is seldom a problem to find fuel. When driving around the major cities and along the main roads, then most petrol stations are open 24 hours a day. In addition to selling fuel they additionally usually have a shop and often a small bar or cafeteria where you can relax and have a simple meal. It is also a normal thing that they stock emergence items for your car, such as fuses, bulbs, oil and antifreeze. If you are planning a trip out into the rural countryside, then it is best to fill up your car before you leave, even if petrol stations are common and opening hours are relatively good even in the smaller villages. Most petrol stations will open at 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning and close after 10:00 in the evening.

If you are traveling out in to the countryside, then it may sometimes surprise people to find that there are still a few places that do not accept electronic payment, and you may need cash to pay.

Petrol prices are always shown in liters and are comparable to the rest of Europe. Standard types of fuel are PB95 (unleaded 95), PB98 (unleaded 98) and ON (standard road diesel). Furthermore, many places offer auto gas or LPG. If traveling with a car that has an LPG conversion, then you will not have any trouble at all finding gas stations as most petrol stations do offer LPG and in addition, there are many independent LPG stations available.

Regulations

When driving in Poland you should at all times have the legal documents for your vehicle with you, including a valid insurance document in addition to the vehicle logbook. If stopped by the police, then you will need to have a valid driving license with you. If you are not a holder of the "credit card" format license with photo ID, subsequently they may also require a photo ID., I.e. Passport or National ID card.

One of the first things that you need to remember when driving in Poland is that like many other European countries, you are required to have your headlights on at all times, including in the summer. If you do not, then this is one of the things that you are sure to get stopped for.

When driving in built-up areas the standard speed limit is 50km/h, on main roads the speed limit is 90km/h and the motorways are normally 110km/h unless otherwise stated. Radar and laser control are very common and are often in built-up areas or at the end of motorways. Foreign drivers should bear in mind that the Police will not show extra consideration for you or be more lenient. Pleading ignorance will not help you out, and it is normally better to cooperate as the Police are often friendly and more understand then. If you are stopped by the police for any offense, then you will need to pay the fine on the spot.

Drinking and driving rules are very strict in Poland, and the police are enforcing these laws now. You can be subject to a breathalyzer test even if you have not committed any offense. The police have the right to breathalyze any drivers whom they may stop on any spot checks along the roadside. If you are involved in any form of an accident, then it is a standard procedure to be tested. It is recommended for foreign drivers not to drink at all before driving as getting stopped for drink driving can course extensive complications.

When driving all use of mobile phones is forbidden, unless the phone is equipped with a hands-free device and the device is in use.

All Children must be fastened in a proper suited safety seat and no children under the age of 12 are allowed to sit in the front site of the car at anytime. Seat belts are obligatory for all traveling by car, both in the front and back seats.

For those who are using motorbikes then helmets are obligatory for both driver and any passengers.

 

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