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Weekend of carnage as 41 people lose their lives on Poland's roads


PolskaDoll 28 | 2,105
30 Aug 2010  #1
It's not a new thing, Poland's roads are known for their high death toll and this weekend past, the last weekend of the holiday period, Polish media reports that 41 people lost their lives on Poland's roads as holidaymakers returned home.

Although the death toll is a slight decrease from the same time last year (43 died compared to 48 in 2008) the injury rate is higher with 549 people injured (up from 524 last year).

Officials name many reasons for the high accident rate (around 400 reported accidents each year at this time), one of them being total disregard for other motorists. However, what's worrying is that despite campaigns by Polish police they reported that over 1,500 people had been taken in for driving under the influence of drink over the weekend.

What are your experiences of Poland's roads?

Do you think Polish police will succeed in cutting down drink-driving on Polish roads with their current campaigns or do they need to re-think their policies?

Are Poland's roads better or worse today compared to previous decades?

Car accident Poland
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
31 Aug 2010  #2
Are Poland's roads better or worse today compared to previous decades?

the roads are getting better, but very slowly. a better road does not make a better driver though. these days you have the same idiot in a faster car on what he thinks is a faster road. many of the new roads are within the city boundary here.

What are your experiences of Poland's roads?

put it this way. i know my around the Polish court system and i've never been the accused

the way drivers ignore pedestrian crossings, chance it at red lights, overtake, etc is beyond stupidity.

those who plan the roads appear clueless too.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
31 Aug 2010  #3
It's a hard one to call. When I was first in Krakow the roads were not that desirable, but over the years they built new roads within the city and things appeared much better. But like Wroclaw says, it never stopped some idiot drivers. In my 6 months in Krk I witnessed 3 people hit by cars, 2 of which were fatalities, one a girl on Ul.Wielicka and a homeless man on Pokoju. Some idiot tried to do a U turn before the tram got the cross and smacked the old geezer full force. Then to my astonishment when I went to help him the guy in the car got out and started shouting at homeless guy for denting his car, he got back into it and drove off....speeding again. cvnt!
alexw68
31 Aug 2010  #4
the way drivers ignore pedestrian crossings, chance it at red lights, overtake, etc is beyond stupidity.

'Zactly. This weekend I got cut up on the 92 between Gorzow and Poznan more than ever before. Fortunately for me and passengers (including 2 under 2 yrs) I was already aware of this weekend (the All Saints' weekend being the other major black spot) and drove accordingly.

Tusk wants chemical castration for paedos. The law would be better applied to those who cause death or injury by driving with their dicks instead of their heads.

(Better get a triple dose in, Donald. there are a LOT of these mofos about)
Stu 12 | 522
31 Aug 2010  #5
I've had the "pleasure" to drive from Wroclaw to Gdansk on the 26th and back again on the 29th.

Although the major roads are much better than they used to be, there's still a lot to be done. In all fairness, they are really working hard on a lot of roads (like the 5 out of Wroclaw ... well, all along the 5 really).

They've caught me speeding on my way to Gdansk, when I got on the A1 motorway, just behind the gates where you draw your toll-ticket. There is a "sharp" bend to the right and 60 is allowed (which is fine when you drive a heavy-goods vehicle, but with a car even 100 is a safe speed) and they caught me doing 72. With which I only want to say, that maybe the focus of the police is wrong. They check speeds on places where an accident is not likely to happen anyway, they are just after the money.

And I haven't seen any alcohol checks whatsoever. In the Netherlands, the police regularly sets up a road block on the motorway, directs all traffic over a large parking lot and everyone has to do an alcohol test. I'm pretty sure that if the Polish police had done a similar action on Sunday morning, they would have caught even more people drinking and driving.

And with regard to Wroclaw's remark about pedestrian crossings. I once was so "galant" as to stop before a pedestrian crossing. I was on the right lane. People from the right started to cross only to find some jerk overtaking me on the left, nearly running over a couple of them. What is safer for the pedestrians?

The only solution according to me: to get rid of all the safety features of a car: no seat belts, no airbags, nothing. Just a very sharp and pointy sword in the middle of the stearing wheel pointed at 2 centimeters from the driver's heart. That'll make drivers think twice.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
31 Aug 2010  #6
the way drivers ignore pedestrian crossings, chance it at red lights, overtake, etc is beyond stupidity.

And the only way that it's going to change is when they enforce it with some steel behind them. Fines aren't enough - it needs to be instant suspensions for things such as running red lights on purpose and dangerous overtaking.

And with regard to Wroclaw's remark about pedestrian crossings. I once was so "galant" as to stop before a pedestrian crossing. I was on the right lane. People from the right started to cross only to find some jerk overtaking me on the left, nearly running over a couple of them. What is safer for the pedestrians?

Technically, that's one of the worst things that can be done on the roads here - I think it's an instant 10 points? But the truth is that as I say above - it needs to be instant licence suspension for a short period to put a stop to such behaviour.

Driving standards are so unbelievably low in Poland, it's unreal - yet the testing procedure is very robust. It's all due to the lack of enforcement and laughably weak punishment. Fine someone 500zl and give them 5 points - they're going to laugh at you as soon as you're gone. Suspend their licence automatically for 2 weeks - no laughing now, eh?
Stu 12 | 522
31 Aug 2010  #7
Suspend their licence automatically for 2 weeks - no laughing now, eh?

But then it still comes down to enforcement. These people need to be watched, cause I wouldn't be surprised if they would simply drive their car even if their licence is suspended. When I am in Wroclaw, I see sooo many cars with temporary German, Belgian and Dutch number plates, and I really wonder whether these people drive around with a valid insurance. The police can even check the German plates, since there is an expiry date on them, but still I see people driving around with expired German plates.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
31 Aug 2010  #8
That's exactly it - they need to back it up with some serious teeth. If they're suspended, then the car should be taken too for the period of the suspension just to rachet up the pain a little. If it's a company car, even better - it'll be interesting to see what their boss says to "er, guv, the car's been taken for two weeks" :)

(and if they're caught driving while suspended, it should be instant licence revocation with at least a short prison sentence. I notice that a lot of the bad driving here is actually done by morons with reasonably good cars!)
poland_
31 Aug 2010  #9
I notice that a lot of the bad driving here is actually done by morons with reasonably good cars!)

A lot of the bad driving is done by old men wearing hats. If you want to make the roads safer, lets start off by giving the over 60's eye tests every year. Driving on the roads in Poland is far superior to what it was 10 years ago, the quality of the roads, the safety of the cars,drivers actually give way now and indicate. After driving in Poland al least you will have a fair chance on a roundabout in Milano. Complain you don't know how lucky you are today. Were is Wildrover when you need him, enough already...
cms 9 | 1,272
31 Aug 2010  #10
One of the most bizarre things about Polish drivers is the way they speed up rather than slow down when they see you on a zebra crossing. This happens even when walking my kids accross the road. Its clearly a basic mindset problem rather than the fault of the roadss, old cars, police etc. That said, 100% agree that the Police should be given much wider powers for instant suspensions.
cjj - | 281
31 Aug 2010  #11
>It's all due to the lack of enforcement and laughably weak punishment.

I would argue that it's due to people not taking personal responsibility. Enforcement can never be 100% and punishment has to be increasingly tough in order to turn the "don't cares" into "made to cares". I'd rather the society in general lost its "I can do it until someone watches me, catches me, stops me and punishes me" attitude.

Side-tracking to tail-gating, is the 2-second rule taught in Poland? I've noticed some "safe stopping distances" signs recently but I've always found the time indicator easier to apply.
db1874 7 | 227
31 Aug 2010  #12
I don’t like that there are very few speed limit signs, I’m often driving in Poland and have no idea what the speed limit is supposed to be. You seem to be expected to know by the type of road.

Also, the give way to the right at junctions is ambiguous in many situations because of this yellow sign you're supposed to have seen or not seen prior to the junction. The driver should be left with no doubt when they should stop and give way.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
31 Aug 2010  #13
the way drivers ignore pedestrian crossings, chance it at red lights, overtake, etc is beyond stupidity.

those who plan the roads appear clueless too.

Agreed. I used to get frustrated when pedestrians either waited to cross when I had stopped or just waved me on. Then I saw how drivers just ignore the fact someone has stopped for a pedestrian and drive straight over the crossing without a care.

I also find the whole pedestrian lights annoying. A driver is watching the road, and the lights and then finds the pedestrian lights allow people to cross while he is turning. I realise this system exists across Europe but in UK a vehicle cannot cross a crossing when the light is in favour of pedestrians.

There is, in my opinion, a tendency to put crossing too close to junctions, roundabouts, meaning a car has to negotiate a number of things when turning, and pedestrians don't always bother about waiting for a car to pass.

Another problem is having a major cross-road junction with fast moving traffic and no left/right filter lights. Honestly, I think Olsztyn hires any old moron who doesn't live in the town to design it's roads. Personally I'd like to tie a few of them to a stake and plant them in the middle of some of these junctions to witness the accidents until they get the idea.

In my area, warmia-mazury, the standard of many roads is appalling but it isn't helped by cretins who insist on overtaking upto 4-5 other vehicles in one go in the face of oncoming traffic. Probably the same people who think the white lines in the centre of the road are supposed to be lined up with the middle of their car, and refuse to give any room on a narrow country road...

Then there's the general impatience of drivers....

Oh, and don't get me started on car-parks!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
31 Aug 2010  #14
I don’t like that there are very few speed limit signs, I’m often driving in Poland and have no idea what the speed limit is supposed to be. You seem to be expected to know by the type of road.

To be fair, it's not hard to work out - the nice thing here is that when the limit is different to "normal", then the limit only applies to the nearest junction - so you get constant reminders of the lower limit in force. There's really no need to have speed limit reminders - if you don't see signs, then there's a blanket limit.

Also, the give way to the right at junctions is ambiguous in many situations because of this yellow sign you're supposed to have seen or not seen prior to the junction. The driver should be left with no doubt when they should stop and give way.

Standard practice in Europe - the priority sign is always there before the junction. If you don't see it, then you're not paying attention.

Oh, and don't get me started on car-parks!

I had a bit of fun with one moron who decided to park his car in the most unimaginably stupid place in a car park. I stood there, looking at his car, while he got out - he walked off, but kept turning back to find me eyeing up his car. He was clearly absolutely paranoid that I was going to do something, so I wonder if it actually made him think?
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
31 Aug 2010  #15
How about drink-driving? I assume this is illegal in Poland too, but in NL Polish men seem to think it's legal and do this quite often, if I may believe the newspapers - nearly every weekend, according to those newspapers, multiple Polish drivers are being stopped and arrested for being drunk behind the wheel. Last weekend a guy was arrested for driving with about 10 times the allowed of alcohol in his blood. And this was not the first time that sb who could barely stand on his own two feet is being caught behind the wheel. It seems to get such a problem that police in NL is actually setting up teams specifically to check on Polish drivers. Drink-driving is one of the bigger offences one can make in NL while partaking in traffic. Is this a problem in Poland too?

>^..^<

M-G (tiens)
Harry
31 Aug 2010  #16
Suspend their licence automatically for 2 weeks - no laughing now, eh?

Yes they are still laughing: I know one guy who had his licence taken away nearly 20 years ago because he drives like such a twat, he's never stopped driving and has never had any real problems (even though he's had a number of accidents, including one that would have killed his five-year old daughter if she had been wearing a seat belt).

The situation with driving in Poland is so bad that it is hard to know where to start.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
31 Aug 2010  #17
Yes they are still laughing:

The only way to deal with that is some serious jail time, nothing else is going to give them a wakeup call. But again, it's all down to the complete lack of interest in actually enforcing the rules - it's a joke that you can go over 24 points, then do a 400zl course to get you under 24 points again!

How about drink-driving? Is this a problem in Poland too?

Yup, it's a problem. It's finally starting to be seen as socially unacceptable to do so, but you still see drunken 40-something idiots with moustaches and crap cars driving all over the place on the road. The big problem in Poland is that THE MAN IS A MAN and the women simply won't stand up to them - and I think we all know who to blame for this.
db1874 7 | 227
31 Aug 2010  #18
If you don't see it, then you're not paying attention.

you missed the point, if you don't see it then you're left in doubt - did you miss it or was the sign not there meaning you don't have priority? Priority should be explicitly clear. It may work in other countries but it doesn't work well here.
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
31 Aug 2010  #19
In Ireland it's also a problem; a few years ago, about 1 in 3 drivers during the weekend were above the legal limit when stopped - but they found a way to make it socially unacceptable as far as it wasn't yet: they show truly shocking (and I mean truly shocking - after seeing a couple of them, they made me shiver and I really didn't feel good) govt msgs on the TV and it seems they are making the effect desired. This is one of them:

youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BYOl4AgsnD4

Drinking and driving should be regarded as a crime and if you kill sb in an accident when drunk behind the wheel, you're nothing less than a premeditated murderer and should go to jail for at least 10 to 20 years.

>^..^<

M-G (never drinks and drives and never has)
Teffle 22 | 1,321
31 Aug 2010  #20
In Ireland it's also a problem

As it happens, this last few weeks has seen the loss of somewhere in the region of 15 lives - most of them young.

A lot for a nation of only 4 million.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
31 Aug 2010  #21
I had a bit of fun with one moron who decided to park his car in the most unimaginably stupid place in a car park.

I might try that whilst holding a hammer.

Funny thing, saw a couple of town-stra┼╝ today clamping and ticketting some cars which seemed to be parked fine. I asked the guy why and he said it was a no-stopping sign a few hundred metres away on the other side of the road.
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
31 Aug 2010  #22
As it happens, this last few weeks has seen the loss of somewhere in the region of 15 lives - most of them young.

A lot for a nation of only 4 million.

I agree with that, but it seems that it's getting less as more and more ppl are getting aware that it's not acceptable to drink and drive. I personally think those DOE ads have helped in that as well as my, my, they are shocking! But still, 15 young ppl dead is too much, way too much.

And I don't understand it either as I believe that the penalties for drink and drive in Ireland are pretty severe. I mean, I do understand going to a pub for a pint, but if it's in the village, what's wrong with walking? Or getting a designated driver who stays sober? In NL they now have started a total war on drink and drive, it seems from the newspapers: you now get also official fines for riding a bike drunk. In fact, this has always been illegal in NL: if you're drunk, the only means of transportation that are legal are either your own two legs or a sober driver. Riding a bike, moped or anything that moves faster than when you walk, is illegal to operate when being drunk.

>^..^<

M-G (tiens)
convex 20 | 3,978
31 Aug 2010  #23
Or getting a designated driver who stays sober? In NL they now have started a total war on drink and drive, it seems from the newspapers: you now get also official fines for riding a bike drunk.

It's not only drunk drivers. Sober morons that aren't aware of their surroundings and make terrible terrible decisions. I was run off the road last week by a car that decided not to look out for motorcycles before trying to pass...
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
31 Aug 2010  #24
Sober morons

Indeed. I've had three car accidents in my life - all three of them caused by sober drivers who didn't pay attention: one just drove up the main road and she didn't bother to look if sth was coming from the right and slammed into me on the right-hand side; the other one decided to overtake me just before a crossroads and then, without even fully having passed me, turned right, forcing me to go abrubtly towards the pedestrian path where I nearly hit a child before slamming into a wall and the last one crashed into me because he "saw" much too late that there was a traffic jam and cars had to stop - he smashed into my car from behind - darn, that was a brandnew Rover 75 totalled!

>^..^<

M-G (tiens)
Trevek 26 | 1,702
31 Aug 2010  #25
Sober morons that aren't aware of their surroundings and make terrible terrible decisions.

yeah, it's those sober morons that scare me the most... I need half a bottle before i get the courage to drive.

Has anyone noticed if some pr1ck pulls a psychotic overtaking manouvere it is usually an Audi?
Teffle 22 | 1,321
31 Aug 2010  #26
yeah, it's those sober morons that scare me the most... I need half a bottle before i get the courage to drive.

LOL!

Has anyone noticed if some pr1ck pulls a psychotic overtaking manouvere it is usually an Audi?

Yep. Or BMW. Usually with blacked out windows. Some things transcend all borders!
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
31 Aug 2010  #27
Has anyone noticed if some pr1ck pulls a psychotic overtaking manouvere it is usually an Audi?

Or BMW

Don't forget the Alfa Romeos :)

>^..^<

M-G (tiens)
Trevek 26 | 1,702
31 Aug 2010  #28
Don't forget the Alfa Romeos :)

Not seen many of those. The occasional mercedes, though.

Alternatively, the delapidated fiat maluch haring down the centre of the icy road.
convex 20 | 3,978
31 Aug 2010  #29
The occasional mercedes, though.

That's me. And we're passing you because you drive like old people fvck.
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
31 Aug 2010  #30
Not seen many of those

Alfa Romeo drivers are considered the most anti-social drivers, at least in NL.

>^..^<

M-G (more than drivers of any other brand)


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