There’s something pretty exciting about heading abroad for a road trip. And the excitement levels are raised even further when you undertake that trip in a van.
Sitting so high up and mastering the art of driving such a large, utilitarian vehicle makes you feel pretty good.
But these are foreign roads. And that means there are rules, regulations, and considerations that extend far beyond what we’re used to in the UK.
So, without further ado, if you’re heading to Poland in a hire van, here’s what you need to know.
The standard stuff
As always, when it comes to driving abroad, there are a few standard thing you need to keep in mind.
The following might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed by how easy it is to forget the essentials when you get wrapped up in the trip itself.
So, remember the following before you set off:
- your valid driving license;
- proof of ID (your passport will do); and
- the documentation from your hire company.
The latter is super important. It should include proof of insurance, and confirmation that you’ve been granted permission to take the vehicle abroad. (This is vital in the absence of a V5 registration document.)
The UK ‘identifier’
From the 28th October, you’ll need some form of UK ‘identifier’ if you’re driving abroad.
This is just like the old, classic, GB sticker that can still be seen attached to many cars, but it now needs to state ‘UK’.
From 28th September 2021, the distinguishing mark (or national identifier) displayed on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom that are driven abroad changed from GB to UK.
This means that vehicles registered in the UK must display the letters “UK” when driven in the EU.
The identifier can be incorporated in vehicle number plates (along with the Union Flag) or as a separate sticker. Note that vehicles featuring the letters GB together with the Council of Europe golden stars are no longer valid for driving abroad.
If the vehicle does not have the UK identifier within the number plate, you’ll require a UK sticker. GB stickers are no longer be valid.
To ensure you’re compliant, it’s advisable to check the government’s advice regarding the most appropriate identifier for your trip to Poland.
It’s the little things that could leave you in a pickle if you forget to take them with you during your jaunt in Poland.
So, before you pack your bags, make sure you load the following into the back of the hire van:
- a warning triangle;
- headlamp beam deflectors;
- a reflective jacket; and
- a fire extinguisher.
The chances are, you won’t need any of the above, but it’s better to be prepared. Also, if you’re ever stopped by the authorities while driving in Poland, they may ask to see the safety equipment you have on board – it’s compulsory, after all!
If you have an emergency, dial 112.
Them’s the rules
In Poland, you need to drive on the right-hand side of the road. That takes some getting used to, but it’s certainly the first thing you need to get your head around.
Seatbelts obviously need to be worn by all passengers (and the driver) – the fines can be large, and it’s just the sensible thing to do.
When you approach traffic lights, if there’s a red light accompanied by a green light, drivers are allowed to turn in the direct of the arrow, but must give way to other road users and pedestrians. Again, this takes time to get used to, but makes sense after a while.
The national speed limit on motorways in Poland, unless otherwise stated on local signage, is 140km/h (87mph). On a main road outside a built-up area it’s 90 km/h to 120km/h, but check local signs. For built-up areas it’s 50km/h (between the hours of 05:00 and 23:00) or 60km/h (between the hours of 23:00 and 05:00).
It’s also important to note that you’re not allowed to use speed camera detectors in Poland – they’re completely illegal. The blood alcohol limit in lower than the UK so it’s best not to take risks.
Lastly, just remember what you’re not allowed to take into Poland. Meat, dairy products, or fresh fruit and vegetables shouldn’t be in the back of the van. And nor should any plants or plant products.
We hope this advice helps. If you’re ready to book your hire van for a trip to Poland, just get in touch with the Squab team, today.