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Roads and Driving rules in Poland versus America


KamilaK  
8 Dec 2007 /  #1
Throughout 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.
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
8 Dec 2007 /  #2
Avon, Colorado:
Bloomington, Indiana:
Bettendorf, Iowa:

and so on.

The problem is that the rules for roundabouts are different in some of the States.
krysia 23 | 3,057  
9 Dec 2007 /  #3
Rondo, haha. They put rondos in Poland to make it cheaper by not installing traffic lights and because Poles don't always stop an a stop sign, specially when drunk. There are rondos everywhere in Poland and they keep building new ones.
Kowalski 7 | 621  
9 Dec 2007 /  #4
The idea behind building more rondos is slowing traffic as we have speeding problem. Speed limits are unthinkable to implement in cities as we would get arguments that "In Germany there's no speed limit". Go figure.
Avalon 4 | 1,068  
9 Dec 2007 /  #5
The rules of the road are fine!!!!....if the Polish could be bothered to observe them!!!
the_falkster 1 | 180  
9 Dec 2007 /  #6
They put rondos in Poland to make it cheaper by not installing traffic lights

building more rondos is slowing traffic

very right that is both...

i think one can say that the origin of all roundabouts is england. you find roundabouts everywhere, even on the smallest of junctions...

and guess what... they work perfectly fine.
Irisheyz77 3 | 44  
9 Dec 2007 /  #7
In my experience the Polish are crazy drivers! While there are some crazy drivers in America the Poles just seem to take it to extremes....when being driven in Poland I alwys tried to make sure I was sitting near a door...so I could grip the handle when things started to get a little tense for me. I don't know that they manage to survive there! *lol*

As for the first comment about roundabouts....there are tons of them in MA. Built to try to keep traffic moving while at the same time controlling the speed. While I can see the logic in this I find them horribly annoying. I also get antsy thinking that the other drivers may not be on the same wavelength as me and that I'll get into an accident.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
9 Dec 2007 /  #8
I don't know that they manage to survive there! *lol*

lol indeed but a lot of them dont survive
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
9 Dec 2007 /  #9
In my experience the Polish are crazy drivers! While there are some crazy drivers in America the Poles just seem to take it to extremes

- What do you mean that 'Polish are crazy drivers' and that they they 'just seem to take it to extremes'? Can you give any specific examples of this alleged 'craziness' and extremism, ye 'Irisheyz' from USA?

The rules of the road are fine!!!!....if the Polish could be bothered to observe them!!!

- So according to you all the Polish don't bother to observe 'the rules of the road'?
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
9 Dec 2007 /  #10
i can

2 lane road

4 lanes of traffic

frequent occurance
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
9 Dec 2007 /  #11
lol indeed but a lot of them dont survive

- What is so funny, pal? And which country has more car incidents - Poland or USA, or your own country? By the way, I have seen with my own eyes how some folks drive in the latter....
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
9 Dec 2007 /  #12
What is so funny, pal?

there is absolutely nothing funny about people dying due to careless driving

i have no idea which countries have more fatal car accidents but i do know that accidents have increased 15% in the uk due to central european drivers
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
9 Dec 2007 /  #13
there is absolutely nothing funny about people dying due to careless driving

- So why are you laughing?

accidents have increased 15% in the uk due to central european drivers

- Do you mean that road accidents went up 15 % in the UK because of Polish drivers? Where did you take this news from?

i can

2 lane road

4 lanes of traffic

frequent occurance

- Which specific city would that be, which road? Sopot?
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
9 Dec 2007 /  #14
gdansk tzcew E75 and gdansk wehjerowo S6 are the 2 i travel most frequently and see this...
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
9 Dec 2007 /  #15
re: tzcew, wehjerowo

- Never heard about such places. Would you mean Tczew and Wejherowo?

I visited Gdansk many times, but never noticed 4 lines of traffic on any of the roads.

So those alleged four lines of traffic are due to 'careless driving' or to something else, e.g. narrowness of the road, too many cars? E.g. in your native England I've seen lots of weird driving, including driving on the sidewalk by two passing cars, but it was many times due to the narrowness of roads there.

What else, apart from road accidents, has increased in England because of the Poles? Crime perhaps...?
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
9 Dec 2007 /  #16
Crime perhaps?

apparently, either that or a rise in wrongful arrest

and it seems there has been an increase in births
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
9 Dec 2007 /  #17
apparently, either that or a rise in wrongful arrest

- And the revelation comes from...?
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
9 Dec 2007 /  #18
oh just those old media hacks puzzie... nobody you would take the blindest bit of notice of...
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
9 Dec 2007 /  #19
Wow, it seems Poland is bad for you to live in. Why suffer?
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
9 Dec 2007 /  #21
those old media hacks puzzie

- Which media hacks? Daily Mail? The Sun?
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
9 Dec 2007 /  #22
think it was the independent... or perhaps the gaurdian... im sure a quick google search will give you the answer
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
9 Dec 2007 /  #23
$$$$$

- You coudn't make more in England or US?
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
9 Dec 2007 /  #24
propably but i have much cheaper fun in poland
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
9 Dec 2007 /  #25
think it was the independent

- It was The Times. 'Huge rise in foreign lorry accidents blamed on difference in road rules.' November 14, 2007.

Strangely enough, the 'ten countries ranked by highest rate of increase in collisions caused by foreign drivers in the UK' are all 'Eastern European' countries plus the Republic of Ireland.

Of course, it's the Poles who are listed as having the highest number of lorry accidents in UK. The source of the info is given as 'UK Green Card Bureau.'

It all looks kind of fishy to me.
Irisheyz77 3 | 44  
10 Dec 2007 /  #26
- What do you mean that 'Polish are crazy drivers' and that they they 'just seem to take it to extremes'? Can you give any specific examples of this alleged 'craziness' and extremism, ye 'Irisheyz' from USA?

The thing that got me the most was when my family and I drove from Krakow to the villiage my great-grandfather was from. It was a 2 lane road with traffic going in opposite directions in each lane. There was a lot of traffic and when I am from we'd mostly sit and creep along as traffic progressed cursing at whatever the cause might be. But my cousin on the other hand would pull out of the line at every opportunity, gun the engine and speed down the lane - which had cars coming at him....when he came close to a car coming at him he'd slam on the breaks and cut off a car in the lane that was travelling in the same direction as him.

Maybe I'm just an overly cautious driver at times though in America we generally don't pass on the left - we usually pass on the right and suck up as best we can any delays. All I know is that the playing chicken with the on-coming cars was not a fun experience.
Ranj 21 | 948  
10 Dec 2007 /  #27
Was that your cousin driving towards Bubba and myself? There are many things I love about Poland, but the way people drive is not one of them......;)
ukpolska  
10 Dec 2007 /  #28
Puzzler, my best friend in Poland was killed two years ago on the Lublin to Pulawy road, due to a speeding driver who could not control his car in the wet and was overtaking cars at 140klms and went head on into my friends car.

His wife is left with two young children to raise on her own, although she is getting some help through the support of her family and friends including myself, but how can you replace a father.

I have travelled quite often with my wife to Lublin and Warsaw and I must say the standard of driving is atrocious, so much so that we avoid the main roads now and take the smaller roads, it takes longer but it is safer.

In the defence of Polish drivers it is not always their fault, the road system here is crazy with that two meter slip road on the side, but I was taught to always drive to the conditions of the roads and if the roads are bad then slow down.

In the UK it is not so much that they are better drivers, although I would say they have more of a driving culture sense, it is more the problem that you cannot even fart on a UK road now without a Policeman giving you points.
Ranj 21 | 948  
10 Dec 2007 /  #29
it is more the problem that you cannot even fart on a UK road now without a Policeman giving you points.

LOL.....thanks, UKpolska! That made me laugh, which in turn helped me to wake up on this dreary Monday morning......now, where's my coffee?
Irisheyz77 3 | 44  
12 Dec 2007 /  #30
If you were traveling in August on some road between Krakow and Niebieszczany then it just might have been! Don't ask me the road because I have no clue. I was sitting in the back seat with my hands over my eyes shaking with fear! *lol*

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