How to drive a car in Poland

Renting a car in Poland? Stay safe with essential guide: valid license, seatbelts, speed limits, headlights, and required documents.

Renting a car in Poland as a foreigner provides an excellent opportunity to explore the country’s scenic landscapes and vibrant cities. However, before hitting the road, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with essential safety tips and legal requirements to ensure a smooth and enjoyable driving experience. In this article, we will guide you through navigating local driving conditions, road regulations, necessary documents, and more.

How to drive a rental car in Poland

  1. Driving on the Right Side of the Road

    A person driving on the right side of the road

    In Poland, traffic flows on the right-hand side of the road. The driver’s seat is on the left side of the vehicle. Take some time to adjust to this change, particularly if you come from a country where driving is on the opposite side.

  2. Seatbelt Requirements

    Safety is a top priority when driving in Poland. It is mandatory for the driver and all passengers to wear seatbelts. This applies to both the front and rear seats. As the driver, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained

  3. Speed Limits

    Road sign indicating speed limit

    Observe and adhere to the speed limits while driving in Poland. The general speed limits are as follows:
       – Built-up areas: 50 km/h (31 mph)
       – Outside built-up areas: 90 km/h (56 mph)
       – Expressways: 120 km/h (75 mph)
       – Highways: 140 km/h (87 mph)

       Always be mindful of posted speed limit signs as they may vary depending on the road conditions or specific sections.

  4. Use of Headlights

    Car with turned on headlights

    In Poland, it is mandatory to use dipped headlights at all times, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. This regulation applies in both urban and rural areas. Keep your headlights on to enhance visibility and ensure your safety on the road.

  5. Road Conditions

    Stay vigilant and adjust your driving accordingly, particularly during winter months when snow and ice can create challenging road conditions. Keep an eye out for road signs indicating hazards, construction zones, or any special conditions that require your attention.

  6. Alcohol and Drug Use

    Two beer bottles in light of the sunset

    Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited in Poland. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.2‰ (0.02%), but it is advisable to avoid consuming any alcohol before getting behind the wheel. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fit to drive.

  7. Mobile Phone Use

    Phone showing directions is installed in the holder next to steering wheel of a car

    Using a handheld mobile phone while driving is illegal in Poland. If you need to make or receive a call, use a hands-free system or pull over to a safe location before using your phone. Prioritize your focus on the road to maintain safety for yourself and other drivers.

  8. Traffic Lights

    Traffic lights on the pole

    Observe traffic lights carefully and follow their signals. Green indicates that you can proceed, yellow requires you to prepare to stop, and red means you must come to a complete stop. Always be cautious when entering intersections and follow the traffic light indications accordingly.

  9. Roundabouts junctions

    Top view of a roundabout with cars entering and exiting

    Roundabouts are common in Poland. When approaching a roundabout, yield to vehicles already in the roundabout. Wait for a safe gap before entering and use your indicators to signal your intentions when exiting the roundabout.

  10. Priority and Right of Way

    Top view of complicated road intersection

    In Poland, vehicles approaching from the right typically have the right of way, unless indicated otherwise by road signs or markings. Exercise caution at intersections and yield to vehicles that have priority. Always respect the right of way to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.

Renting a car in Poland offers a fantastic way to explore the country’s diverse landscapes and cultural heritage. By adhering to them essential safety tips and legal requirements outlined in this article, you can have a safe and enjoyable driving experience. Familiarize yourself with local road regulations, maintain awareness of road conditions, and always prioritize safety. Remember to carry the necessary documents and travel insurance for added peace of mind. Enjoy your journey and make unforgettable memories as you discover the beauty of Poland on the open road.

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