To Poland by car. From Lvov to Lublin
Trip to Poland by car was my first experience like that. Thats why before starting our journey I looked through different web sites and forums to find out any aspects of crossing the border and driving in another country. My search was quite successful, but some questions were kept open. So, I decided to tell other people about my trip and share my experience. Maybe it will also help somebody.
Crossing the Ukrainian border
We went from Lvov to Lublin, so we decided to use the main road according to our navigation system. Our point of crossing the border was Rava-Russka city. The whole process of leaving Ukraine took about 5 hours. We set off on Saturday and maybe it was our mistake. When we came back, we set off at a workday. We left Lublin at 10 p.m. At 12 we were near the border and at 2 a.m. we were in Ukraine.
While we were staying in a queue, we found out an interesting trick. When you come to the end of a queue, a guardian writes down the registry plate number. You can remember your position in your queue and leave. Than, later, you can come back and take your place. As we understood, it is very popular technique, because a lot of drivers took their places in queues in front of us.
Border guards try to speed up the process as possible. The baggage check was done while we were in a queue. Near the border line you must visit customs at first with your passport and documents for your car. Then all your passengers must provide their documents to border guard. You don’t have to fill in any forms. Everything was done by officials.
Crossing the Polish border
With Polish border the situation was a bit different. The queue was smaller because the main part of cars was before the Ukrainian border. But all procedures took more time. Polish guards asked to open some cases and checked almost everything inside the car – boxes, seats, engine registry number. Among the documents they asked for your passport, car registration documents and insurance.
Polish guards also control windows darkening in your car. They made a driver in front of us remove additional darkening from his car’s windows because it was too strong. You can darken second row of windows in your car. But you cant darken driver’s windows and a windscreen.
Then they took our passports and went to register them. All adults and children from the age of, maybe, 7, should provide their fingerprints. There I faced some difficulties. I put my fingers onto a scanner. It seemed that everything was fine. But the guard was dissatisfied. He said something to me in Polish but I couldn’t understand him. Unfortunately, nobody there could speak English as well as Russian or Ukrainian. After some time I understood that I should press my fingers stronger. Without it their scanner could’t work.
Second interesting moment was that they asked me about how much fuel left in the tank. I read about such a question before and was ready to it. They just asked and that’s all. Without even checking sensors in the car.
Driving on Polish roads
Speed limits in Poland are almost the same as in other European countries:
- City limit – 50 km/h
- Outside of cities – 90 km/h
- Highways – 130 km/h
You will be informed about that by a sign right after crossing the border. It’s interesting that in Poland there are two road signs – one for starting of a city and second is for starting of a build-up area. City speed limit is for build-up areas.
You also must drive with car lights all time and everywhere.
Using radars detectors in Poland is prohibited. So, it’s recommended to leave them at home. I don’t use such a device, so for me it wasn’t a problem.
I want to discuss more about speed limits. In Ukraine the speed limit in cities is 60 km/h. Also you can reach it for 20 km/h without punishment. After that it is really boring to drive only 50 km/h in Polish cities. But I can say that almost all drivers follow the rules and don’t reach the limits. They can drive about 60 km/h sometimes, but not more. Outside cities the situation is different. We were often overtaken by Polish cars who went with speed about 120 km/h.
Speed cameras and police
Many cities are equipped with speed cameras. You will be informed about them with corresponding signs. Also I met large yellow boards with speed limit signs and messages about reducing the speed. I couldn’t understand if they measure your speed or just inform you.
I read a lot about speed cameras. But I hadn’t found any confirmed occasions when a foreigner was punished after a speed camera. As for me, it’s logical. They don’t know your mail address to send a fine. So, as I understand, speed cameras are important but not very dangerous for foreigners.
Another case is police. They have a right to take money for your fine right on the place. During my trip I saw police with radars several times. In Ukraine they should be in a visible place with switched on flasher. But in Poland they shouldn’t. And their cars are dark and can’t be visible from distance. So, it’s easy to miss them.
Additionally I was interested about how big can be my speed without being fined. According to the Polish law, reaching the speed limit for 1 km/h is offense. But I personally drove with other cars in a city with 60 km/h speed by police and nobody was stopped. In the Internet different travelers agree that police stopes drivers after reaching their speed for more than 10 km/h. But I’d rather not risk.
Parking in Poland
The main head ache for travelers is parking. Especially in big cities. In Ukraine drivers are used to leave their cars where they want. In Poland it’s impossible. Almost all parking lots are paid. For any fouls you will be fined and your car removed. So, keep it in mind and plan your trip in advance.
Finally, I want to wish you only positive emotions from your trips! Be informed and protected!