Driving (Crazy) in Poland, Part 1

Posted on 04/04/2014 ~ Categorized as Live
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Driving (Crazy) in Poland, Part 1

Excerpted and adapted from the ebook "Relocation Guide to Poland" by Agnieszka & Anna Lapacz.

Foreigners relocating to Poland or planning to drive a car in our country often ask if their driving license would be still valid here. Yes, it is accepted but please pay attention to the information written below.

For EU Members

Driver’s licenses issued by other EU member states are recognized by Poland and remain valid until the expiry date indicated in the document. An EU citizen permanently residing in Poland will not be obliged to replace his driver’s license for a Polish one; however the person will have an option to do so. In particular cases when the document is lost or its validity expires, it will not be necessary to pass a driving test again. Effective from May 1, 2004, for EU citizen the “green card” will not be required upon entry by car to Poland. However, it might be used as international proof of insurance, facilitating the obtainment of compensation in the event of an accident. To drive a motor vehicle in Poland, EU nationals need a valid ID, vehicle registration documents (log book) and a driving license.

For Non-EU Members

Foreigners planning to drive a car in the area of Poland should have their national driver’s license. In accordance with relevant international conventions, holders of valid driving licenses issued outside Poland are permitted to drive without the necessity of any special procedures within the period of 6 months since the beginning of their permanent or temporary stay in Poland.

Remember, if your country has no agreement with Poland on an automatic exchange of licenses (it means that you can have a Polish driving license without the need to pass the exam, but you need to deposit your national document in the appropriate office), then you are obliged to have an international driving license.

Following countries has signed an agreement on exchange of licenses with:

  • Tunisia
  • Norway
  • Bulgaria
  • Iran
  • Albania
  • Jordan
  • Syria
  • Iraq
  • Switzerland
  • Yugoslavia
  • Slovakia
  • Moldavia
  • Macedonia
  • Croatia

Important! If the driver’s license doesn’t have any photo, it’s better to bring an international driving license, which is presented together with the national driver’s license. The drivers going to Poland must have (on the border) car insurance (so called Green Card).

Important! If you are driving someone else’s car, it is better to carry with you the owner’s permission to use the borrowed car.

Traffic Regulations

When driving,  it is obligatory to use seat belts in both front and back seats, with children up to the age of 12 and up to 150 cm tall using special certified seats. It is forbidden to use a mobile phone when driving, though a loud-speaking phone system is permitted.

The legal alcohol limit is 0, 2 promille. When you are drunk and drive, don’t think policemen will let you go. You will loose your driving license, plenty of cash and legal procedures will follow.

Speed limits are as follows:

  • Town - (5 a.m – 11 p.m.) – 50 km/h; (11 p.m. – 5 a.m.) – 60 km/h
  • Open road – 90 km/h
  • Single carriageway – 110 km/h, dual carriageway – 120 km/h
  • Motorway – 130 km/h
  • With trailer – 70 km/h (on highway – 80 km/h)

Other Regulations:

  • Between October 1 and the last day of February drivers have to use day lights during the day. Front fog lights may be used only during fog or heavy rain. Rear fog lights may be used only when visibility is less than 50 metres.
  • The vehicle must be equipped with a reflector triangle.
  • The vehicle has to be marked with a sign indicating the country of its registration. Radar-warning system is banned.
  • Foreign registered vehicles should have a country code sticker attached to the back of the vehicle.
  • The driver should be able to produce to the traffic police a valid driving license, vehicle registration and an insurance document.

In the next article in this series, Agnieszka & Anna Lapacz explain why you may want to get a Polish driver's license, plus they describe what Polish drivers are really like. Click here to read Part 2 of "Driving (Crazy) in Poland."


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