How to drive in Ukraine

Planning to rent a car and driving in Ukraine? Stay safe and informed with this comprehensive guide to navigating traffic rules as a foreigner.

Traveling to Ukraine can be an exciting adventure, offering an opportunity to explore its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes. For those who prefer the freedom of driving, renting a car can be a convenient way to discover the country. However, before you hit the road, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local driving regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. This article provides a comprehensive guide for foreigners renting cars in Ukraine.

How to drive in Ukraine

  1. Traffic side

    A person driving on the right side of the road

    In Ukraine, traffic moves on the right-hand side of the road. If you’re accustomed to driving on the left side, take extra care when merging and making turns.

  2. Speed limits

    Road sign indicating speed limit

    Speed limits in Ukraine are as follows: 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas, 90 km/h (56 mph) outside built-up areas, 110 km/h (68 mph) on expressways, and 130 km/h (81 mph) on motorways.

  3. Speed limits

    Traffic lights on the pole

    Obey traffic lights diligently. Red means stop, and green means go. Be cautious during the amber phase as some drivers might speed up rather than slow down.

  4. Roundabouts

    Top view of a roundabout with cars entering and exiting

    Roundabouts are becoming more common in Ukraine. Traffic inside the roundabout has the right of way. Approach with caution and yield to those already in the circle.

  5. Right of way

    Top view of complicated road intersection

    Traffic coming from the right generally has the right of way unless otherwise indicated. Always use caution at intersections.

  6. Seat belt use

    Close shot of unbuckled seat belt

    Seatbelts are required for all passengers in the vehicle, not just the driver.

  7. Child safety

    Child seat installed at a rear seat of a car

    Children under the age of 12 must ride in the back seat and be secured in appropriate child safety seats or booster cushions.

  8. Use of headlights

    Car with turned on headlights

    Headlights must be used at all times, even during the day.

  9. Telephone use

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

    It is prohibited to use a cell phone while driving unless using a hands-free system. It’s a good idea to avoid distractions and keep your eyes on the road.

  10. Alcohol limits

    Two beer bottles in light of the sunset

    The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.02%. It’s safer to avoid alcohol altogether if you plan to drive.

  11. Road conditions

    A car passing the road with signs of maintenance

    While major roads are generally well maintained, some rural areas may have potholes and uneven surfaces. Drive with caution, especially at night.

  12. Tolls

    Toll gates on the road

    As of September 2021, Ukraine does not have a widespread toll system. However, this could change, so it’s a good idea to check before you travel.

  13. Fuel availability

    Close view of a person fuelling a erd car

    Gas stations are easy to find and unleaded gasoline (AI-92 and AI-95) is widely available. Some stations may not accept credit cards, so it’s a good idea to carry cash.

  14. Documents required

    Person checking a wallet for necessary documents

    If you are renting a car, make sure you have your passport, driver’s license (with an international permit if required), and the rental agreement.

  15. Emergency numbers

    A vehicle with emergency lights on

    In case of emergency, dial 112 for general assistance. For the police dial 102 and for medical emergencies dial 103.

Driving in Ukraine as a foreigner can be a rewarding experience if you’re well-prepared and informed about local traffic regulations. Following the rules of the road will ensure your safety and allow you to make the most of your trip through this diverse and beautiful country. Stay alert, be courteous to other drivers, and enjoy the adventure of exploring Ukraine by car.

FAQ on Driving in Ukraine

Do I need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Ukraine?

Yes, it’s recommended to have an International Driving Permit along with your regular driver’s license. While Ukrainian authorities often accept licenses in the Roman alphabet (e.g. English), an IDP provides an official translation in case of language barriers.

Are the road signs in English or Ukrainian in Ukraine?

The majority of road signs in Ukraine are in Ukrainian. Familiarize yourself with the most important road signs and their meanings before you travel.

Can I use my cell phone’s navigation while driving in Ukraine?

Yes, you can use navigation applications on your phone, but it’s important to use a hands-free system. Holding or using your phone without a hands-free device could result in a fine.

What should I do if I’m in an accident in Ukraine?

If you’re involved in an accident, first make sure you and your passengers are safe. Then contact the police (102) and medical services (103) if necessary. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your rental agreement and insurance documents.

Can I pay fines on the spot if the police stop me in Ukraine?

Generally, fines are not paid on the spot. If you receive a fine, follow the instructions on the ticket for payment methods and deadlines.

Is it safe to drive at night in Ukraine?

Driving at night can be less safe due to reduced visibility, potential road hazards, and a higher likelihood of encountering intoxicated drivers. If you must drive at night, use extra caution and stick to well-lit and major roads.

Can I park on the street in the city center in Ukraine?

Parking regulations vary from city to city. In some city centers, you may be required to use metered parking zones. Always check parking signs and obey local regulations to avoid fines or towing.

Is it customary to tip gas station attendants in Ukraine?

Although it’s not required, it’s customary to give a small tip to gas station attendants who provide assistance, such as filling your tank or cleaning your windshield.

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