Driving in Poland – Part 2

February 3, 2013 in Basic Information, General, Leisure, Polish Matters, Transport, Travelling Poland

driving in poland part 2 300x200 Driving in Poland   Part 2

Picture © remik44992 – Fotolia.com

In Part 1 of my small series about driving in Poland I wrote much about drinking and driving, the legal alcohol levels and the penalties one can face when caught behind the wheel after a few drinks. Now, I’d like to go a bit through the Polish road system and rules, which may or may not be a little different than what you might be used to back at home. I hope that this series proves useful to some of you – please drop me a line and let me know what you think.

 

If you’ve searched the Net about the Polish roads and driving in Poland in general, you have surely found many posts saying that it’s simply terrible. For many reasons. Bad roads, bad driving, no obedience to traffic laws, etc. What can I tell you – those opinons are mostly true. That is not to say, however, that you should refrain from driving in Poland. I just recommend that you read through this series and find out what to expect and what to watch out for.

Polish highways

The first most important thing to note is that there are really, and I mean really few highways (or motorways if you like) in Poland. Throughout the preparation for the Euro 2012 soccer championships, some new roads have been built. Some of them weren’t finished on time and are still being worked on. So, in total, Poland has only 1350 km of highways and 1106 km of express roads (i’ll explain what they are in just a bit). At least that’s what Wiki has to say, but it sound about right.

There are actually three main highways which would probably be of interest to you while driving in Poland:

  • Highway no. A2 which will lead you from the German-Polish border in the town of Świecko up to Łódź (Lodz). This highway is complete between those two cities and provides for a really convenient way of travelling to Poland from Berlin. Also, it brings you directly to Lodz, where you can join the Justin Bieber concert I wrote about here icon smile Driving in Poland   Part 2 You can also, quite comfortably, drive from there to Warsaw via the S8, which is not a highway, but it’s as close as it gets.
  • Highway n0. A4, which, again, starts at the German border but much more to the south, at the town of Jędrzychowice. This road will take you to cities like Wrocław, Katowice and Kraków. It also exists, and you’re free to use it (although, not really free as you need to pay for it).
  • Highway n0. A1 which is supposed to take you from Warsaw and/or Łódź (Lodz) to Gdańsk. Supposed to, because it’s not even half done. In reality, you’d need to go to Toruń (which is a beautiful city, really worth seeing by the way) by means of typical Polish roads (I will come to those in a minute) and continue to Gdańsk via the A1 from there. Once on it, the road to Gdańsk will be pleasant.

Two things you need to know about the highways are: the top speed limit is set at 140 km/h and they are mostly not free. The charges depend on the given highway, but to go the whole way you would need to pay about 40 PLN (12 USD / 10 EUR / 8 GBP).

Polish express roads

Highways are scarce, so when you’re driving in Poland you will mostly experience what I call “typical Polish roads” and express roads. The latter resemble a highway to a degree. They are mostly two lane roads (although one lane ones can be found) and the speed limit is set to 110 km/h on two lane and 100 km/h on a one lane road. Another difference from highways is that you will experience community or living areas, in which the speed limit, be default, drops to 50 km/h. Also, don’t be surprised if you get to a traffic light, as they also appear on such roads.

To find out about the “typical roads” and the real thrills of driving in Poland, please continue to the next page.

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