Poznan

Poznań by Car

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Poland is one of Europe’s leading nations in road fatalities, a statistic that will surprise few who have had the pleasure of getting behind the wheel here. A lethal combination of poor road surfaces, networks unsuited to the volume of different traffic and, most of all, aggressive driver behaviour result in the common sight of mangled wrecks around the country. Exercise caution, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, rub those rosary beads and God speed.

The speed limit in Poland is generally 50km/hr in cities (60km/hr between 23:00 and 05:00), 90km/hr outside urban areas, 120km/hr on dual carriageways and 140km/hr on motorways. All cars must have their headlights switched on at all times and carry a red warning triangle, first aid kit, replacement bulbs, a national identity sticker and proper registration and insurance documents. Poland also has strict drunk-driving laws: 0.2‰ is the maximum blood/alcohol limit, so forget about having even a single beer. EU citizens may use their home driving licences as long as they are valid (and you have it on you when driving), however citizens of countries that didn't ratify the Vienna Convention (tsk, tsk Australia and America) will find their licences technically invalid (though this has never been a problem for anyone we know).

Driving to Poznań is fairly easy as it's on the main E30 highway between Warsaw and Berlin. Once you’ve arrived, driving around Poznań's congested one-way streets can be incredibly trying, however, so we suggest you ditch your vehicle for public transport at the first opportunity, which raises the question of where to put it.

Public parking lots are marked on the maps in the back of our print guide, and free parking is basically non-existent, though some hotels have limited parking spaces for guests; check when booking your room. For street parking you'll easily recognise the universal large blue 'P' sign, but be aware that a blue circle with a red 'X' over it means 'No Parking' (not sure which universe that sign is from). Pay via the automated ticket machines on the sidewalk, but note that they only take coins or special chip cards from the parking authority office (so forget that option). Generally having a private car in Poznań is a bad idea unless you have a safe, inexpensive place to keep it.
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