Tales from Driving in Poland
I’ve recently moved to Poland. I’ve been to the country many times before in the last 5 years for shorter periods of time. On top of the usual topics from me I will also start writing about this new experience.
We conied a new term these last few years since we started coming to Poland by car on a regular basis: The Polish Driver. It does not denote the nationality of the driver, but simply a style of driving. If you could even call it that…
I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else where I’ve been.
The typical Polish driver1 doesn’t care about traffic. He will just overtake 5 or 6 cars at once to reach its destination - and will do it over and over again the whole way. That’s simply the only way they drive, it’s the norm for them. If you try suggesting that maybe they’re just slightly mad to risk their lives and everybody elses like that they will think that you are crazy wanting to waste time passing cars one by one.
It wouldn’t be that bad if it was just cars that they were passing like that. Nope, sorry to disappoint. The behavior is exactly the same with big rigs. There have been multiple occasions (not so often luckily) where the mythic Polish driver would overtake 3 big rigs at once!
The ‘best’ is when they do it right before a turn with no visibility and just believe that the road will be free for them. When that doesn’t happen they just merge in between 2 of the cars they were passing forcing everyone behind to break to let them in and just try again as soon as they can.
All of this on a typical polish road: a normal 2 lane road with really bad asphalt quality. This is in general. There are great roads in Poland as of asphalt quality, but most of them are terrible. Especially if you’re used to Italian standards. In Italy we probably have the best road quality in EU (at least from what I’ve seen).
Seeing how it is widespread you might have thought that there would be a lot of accidents, but that’s not the case. We’ve only seen a few of them where it was obvious that the reason for it was one of these crazy overtakes. It is still way more than we ever saw in Italy (zero), but considering the number of people driving this way it is very minimal. It seems like as if everyone knows about it and tries their best to let them overtake as they wish and go on their way.
Counting how many cars the top polish driver overtook for the day has become our favorite hobby while driving across the country.
Here I’m referring to people who drive like that. I’m not referring to Polish people in general and I’m surely not implying that everyone here drives like that, they do not. ↩