Driving in Poland a tight fit


On our first trip to Poland, in October ’05, I read that the road fatality rate in that country is one of the highest in Europe.

We found that cars in Warsaw and on the highways were not being driven recklessly, and the roads as far as Zakopane in the southern Tatra Mountains bordering Slovakia were good, with some being rebuilt along the way.

For the return trip from Kraków to the capital, I sat in the jump seat of our tour bus, at the main door. I noticed that the shoulder on each side of the road was only a half car width on the 2-lane highway. Many times, a slower-moving car would move to the right to let traffic pass, meaning the overtaking cars, trucks and buses would need to move over the center line. Oncoming traffic, used to this custom, would move onto its half shoulder. It is possible that three vehicles could be passing at one time, none in a designated lane.

The bent remains of a car I saw off the roadway attested to a rollover accident.

Drive very carefully outside the cities, and plan for daytime driving to increase the likelihood of arriving safely.

JIM SIMPSON
Wilmington, DE