KamilaK 8 Dec 2007 / #1Throughout time roads have been viewed as a necessity in any country. Just as means of transportation has changed from horse and buggy to automobile, roads too have changed. They have gone from dirt to cement. The creation of roads and streets has had a positive correlation to commerce and travel between two places. In comparing the roads of Poland to those of the United States, as well as some of the driving rules, there are striking similarities as well as dissimilarities. But the end result is the same – people can travel at anytime to anyplace they want!Let’s talk about the differences between American roads and those of Poland. The first striking difference between the two is what is referred to as a roundabout. Roundabouts are very common in European countries, however, when talking about this to someone from America, be prepared for a look of confusion since America does not have these. A roundabout is a circular stretch of road that allows cars to travel in each direction (north, south, east, and west). When witnessing a roundabout, it is often striking to note that cars seem to know when to go and when to yield to others.The second difference between American roads and Polish roads are the size of roads. In smaller villages and towns in Poland it is customary to see two roads (one going in each direction). Naturally, in larger towns, and cities, these two lane roads increase to as many as three or four. In America, you generally will see two lanes in each direction. The right lane is referred to as the “slow lane” for drivers obeying the speed limit. The left lane is referred to as the “fast lane” for drivers that are in a hurry, or for drivers that naturally drive fast. This does not mean that everyone obeys these lanes.Another difference between traveling in Poland and traveling in America is the frequency of stop lights. While it is very common in America to see stoplights in cities, villages and towns, stoplights in Poland are most often observed in major cities. By having less stoplights, the flow of traffic is much improved, and traffic buildups are less likely to happen. Although rush hour happens everywhere!The shocking difference between driving in America and driving in Poland is what is referred to as “overtaking someone”. In America, because most roads are often two lane roads, it is common for cars to signal a move into the other lane (not heading into oncoming traffic). In Poland, however, it is common to see this “overtaking,” where one car bypasses another in the opposite lane of traffic. Although it is quite common in Poland, it can be dangerous when traffic is heavy, when it is nighttime, or when visibilities are low.Despite these differences, there are commonalities between roads in Poland and those in America. The most important commonality is the use of highways. Highways differ from roads in that the speed limit is often faster than on streets, and the number of lights, or stop signs are significantly less. Highways are important in that they connect towns and cities and allow people throughout the region to travel wherever they wish to. Highways in Poland, however, do bear a strong resemblance to streets at times so it is best to look at the signs to make sure you are traveling the right direction.Most roads and highways in any country are bound to be similar, but it is the underlying rules and exceptions that make each country unique. Just as someone from Poland would likely be in amazement at some of the things that happen in the America, so too would someone from America in Poland. The moral of the story is the same regardless of where you are – study the rules of the road, become familiar with them and you should have no problems.