Ultimate Guide to Driving in Warsaw
Driving in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland is generally safe and simple to do. The road system in the center is well maintained, you’ll find clearly placed signs and the universal traffic light system.
Not matter if you are planning on buying a car, motorbike or considering renting a car on your journey this article is for you. We’ll cover the basics of legal requirements to get on the road, help you understand the insurance system and what to expect if you are stopped by the Police while driving in Warsaw and also some advice on how to deal with a situation if you’re involved in a traffic accident/collision.
This article is a brief introduce to driving in Warsaw, but we have much more detailed articles on different subjects related to driving.
Also, remember that Polish people drive on the right side of the road similar to France and Spain.
EU vs non-EU Driving Licence
Having an EU issues driving licence will make things easier for you as you are not required to make any changes to your licence and you are not to change your licence.
Your new licence may have a different validity period and will be subject to any restrictions/conditions that apply in your new country.
You can drive for one year in Poland on a non-EU licence. After this time period convert your licence to a Polish driving licence. You can read our article on how to convert my non-EU driving licence.
If you have an EU driving licence that was issued in exchange for a non‑EU licence, and you wish to move to another EU country with your converted licence, do not assume your new licence will be recognized there. This is up to each EU country.
You need to check with the local authorities in your new country what the conditions are for recognising non-EU licences.
The EU driving licence you were issued with when handing over your non-EU licence licence should contain a code indicating the country that originally issued it (e.g. 70.0123456789.NL).
Polish Car Insurance Explained
Car insurance in Poland is an obligation and there are two types of insurance possible to buy. The first one is called OC and it insures the car not the driver. This means that any person can drive the insured car and insurance is still valid. The OC insurance covers only the situations when you had an accident and it wasn’t your fault. If it’s you who has caused the accident, the cost for it will not be covered. If you want to be insured for this kind of a situation, you will need to buy the second type of insurance which is called AC.
If you want to buy only civil responsibility insurance – OC (obligatory) it should cost you between 1100-2000zł. Please note that the price depends on many factors such as: driver’s age, car age, car engine, the city of registration, fuel that the car runs on, the accidents that the driver had etc. So the final price may vary a lot.
If you want to buy some additional protection for your car and have insurance that would give you some money back if any third party causes damage to your car (such as someone stole your car, an animal destroyed your car, a natural damage was done – fire, rain, fallen tree) it will be more expensive. You will then need to ask for Comprehensive Cover insurance (in polish called AC – Autocasco). It will cost you additionally around 1500zł. Alltogether the OC and AC insurance should cost you between 2700-3500zł.
You need to pay for the insurance yearly but if you will sell your car, you will need to write a letter to insurance company with the selling agreement and they will pay you your money back partially according to the amount of time that you used the insurance.
A very useful calculator to see the price of your insurance that you may pay (it is never exact amount but it gives you an idea. Inside you will need to put just basic infromation such as: your car type, year of production, engine size, type of fuel, number of doors etc. The website is available only in polish but it translates pretty well to English with gogle translator.
Being stopped by Police and Accidents
If you are unlucky enough to be involved in a Traffic accident or collision then you should remember to secure the scene and prevent further damage or other accidents happening.
By Polish law all cars must carry an orange warning sign, a high visibility jacket and a fire extinguisher. When it is safe to do so you should set up the warning triangle, wear the high visibility jacket and turn on your cars emergency lights.
If we are participants in a collision, our duty as driver on Polish roads is to remove the car immediately to the side of the road were possible so as not to obstruct traffic on other vehicles. If a person it stuck by a car in an accident then we must not move the cars or touch the person(s) and we must call for medical aid as soon as possible. The number for emergency services is 112
You can learn more about what paper work you must carry and present in an accident and find much more details on Dealing with a Traffic accident in Poland here
Being stopped by Police
When you are driving in Warsaw or anywhere in Poland and you are the person in control of a motor vehicle on a Polish road then the police have the legal right to stop you at anytime to ensure you vehicle is legal and your paper work is correct. The police can signal you to stop by either flashing their lights while being you or they might pull along side you and signal for you either follow them to a safe place or wave for you to pull over to a safe location. Not stopping for a police officers request is a criminal offence and can get you in big trouble and this could prevent you from driving in Warsaw ever again.
Not matter if you are being stopped on suspicion of a motoring offence or just for a routine stop you’ll be requested to produce your:
– Driving license
– Car registration card
– Car insurance paperwork
Remember that these documents are a must for driving in Warsaw and if you can not produce these items on request you can face a fine of 50 PLN (about ten euros) per document . You can also face fines for speeding, not having your lights on when required and for other reasons. Read our full article on the Cost of motor offence Police fines