Myth #19: Polish people can drive

Of course I’ve seen them drive. A Polish person gets in a car, the engine starts, and the vehicle roars off into the distance in a cloud of blue smoke. They’re clearly pushing the right peddles and pulling the right levers. But that’s where it seems to end. As far as I’m concerned the real trick to driving is avoiding running
into things, for example other cars and human beings. I’m always slightly worried by this sign:

Do you really need a sign reminding you NOT to drive into people?

Wypadki

Polish drivers are absolute bastards. I tried to find a more polite word, but there wasn’t one. Walking across a road in Poland is taking your life in your hands. For some reason, that I am completely unable to understand, Polish drivers believe that they become enormously more important than everybody else as soon as they step into a car. This means that they are perfectly entitled to barge other people off the road or run down pedestrians as they see fit. In other words they don’t give a flying kurwa for anyone else (English translation: begins with an ‘F” ends with an ‘K’ and isn’t ‘Fork’).

Poland! Why is this? What the hell is wrong with you people?

You need more Myths about Poland don’t you!

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27 thoughts on “Myth #19: Polish people can drive

  1. Brad says:

    While we don’t see eye-to-eye on the girls post…

    I’ve literally hit the bonnet of a taxi who was slowly – but surely – running my wife and I down as we crossed in the pedestrian crossing (zebra) after getting out of a tram. Not to mention the innumerable times I’ve yelled at people for not stopping or (just as bad!!!) stopping in the god-damned zebra.

    It is odd, isn’t it, that the same people that walk – and are delayed by these sorts of drivers – do the same exact thing that irritates them (it does… doesn’t it?) when they get into their (or someone’s) car.

    When I’m driving and I see someone walking up to the pedestrian crossing I make a point to stop… ESPECIALLY if there are other cars behind me. It’s a bit irritating to me to see them look over at my car, somewhat incredulously, before making their way across… but at least I stop and at least they go.

    It’s not so much to ask, is it? A quick stop so we can dart across the road?

  2. guest says:

    Poles CAN drive ! :D

  3. island1 says:

    Guest: Ok, that’s it. I have to ask. How come you jump on every single one of our posts within minutes of their being posted (in the nicest and most entertaining way possible)? And always with the perfect image or video as a response. You’re a spy aren’t you… go on admit it…

  4. scatts says:

    Agreed. Poles make bad drivers and even worse pedestrians. There are exceptions, but not too many. They seem to excel at both of these at the weekend.

  5. mochafueled says:

    Island, perhaps a better question should be what country has the best drivers or safest… every country I have been in this past year or so can arguably be considered to have bad or inept drivers… be it in a taxi with them or just walking near a street can be taking your life in your hands…. but what place is safe… is it Germany with its expensive training or some other place I have never thought of….

    just a thought…

  6. Kinuk says:

    I agree with all the comments. Poles can’t drive and it’s amazing how scared I’ve become of crossing the road now, especially whilst pushing a stroller. My husband has major rage fits over this whole “won’t stop at the zebra, even though the green man tells the pedestrians to go” thing. He once punched the bonnet of a car as it tried to drive past him. He also now walks eeeeexxxxttrrraaaa slowly on the zebras when the lights are green for pedestrians, so the cars trying to turn are forced to sit there. He’s normally the calmest man around and the most patient one, but the lack of respect has really put a bee in his (very masculine) bonnet.

    I don’t know why Poles are so rude to each other and to the pedestrians while in a car, I really don’t. But I wish they’d stop.

    Btw…that youtube vid…I mean, WHAT IS THE POINT? He’s got a crap little car with the engine of a hairdryer or lawnmower and he turned it around, so he seems to drive backwards. I mean, what is the point? What an idiot.

  7. Michael Farris says:

    Why do Polish people behave the way they do in cars?

    1. Cars are largely still status symbols in ways they aren’t in some other countries. Driving a car makes some (maybe most) Poles in some undefined way feel like bigshots and what’s the point of being a nice or considerate bigshot?

    2. Poles drive the way they walk (the movement patterns of cars on the highway are more or less exactly the same as people on a sidewalk). That many ignore lanes doesn’t suprise me, I’m just surprised they (mostly) stay on the right side of the road.

    3. The internal clocks of most Polish people are doubled and tripled once they’re behind the wheel. The same person who has a “later, it’s not the last minute yet” attitude to most things is overcome by the idea “Oh My God! I have to get there as fast as possible!!!! Now!!!!” once they turn the key in the ignition (there is also a subset of Polish drivers that can’t stand the thought of a cars being ahead of them and want to pass them at all costs).

    4. Many don’t look around. When I was in driving class I was taught to constantly be looking in different directions. A great many Polish drivers keep their gaze glued straight ahead of them. A UFO could start cruising alongside them and they’d never know.

    I’ve been utterly terrified as a passanger in cars driven by Polish drivers. But in the interest of fairness I should also mention there are some good Polish drivers that don’t make me wonder what hospital I’m going to wake up in (as a best case scenario).

  8. Brad says:

    Best drivers: Norwegians. A healthy dose of heavy-handed and harsh penalties for violating their already quite low speed limits …combined with some good, old-fashioned courtesy has apparently made them the nicest drivers.

    I haven’t been everywhere, but I have been many places… and my time spent driving in Norway was the most relaxing. It did take quite awhile to get to and from where I was going but it’s a beautiful country, so…

  9. darthsida says:

    BTDT, a car driver for a year, a pedestrian for decades, who nearly lost (the meaning of) life in a car accident 10 years ago, I generally agree with Michael above. (But Michael, re looking around, you know what the country with the highest ratio road signs/m2 is? I imagine I’d find the luxury of looking around and admiring landscapes of a US desert — but perhaps not while Polish downtown zigazgging through the systems of holes surprisingly known as ‘roads’.)

    Then, let me generalize more: it’s historically genetic that Poles are not subservient to systems of law. Laws have often been hostile things, you know: Russian / German announcements, regime’s requirements. Maybe a traffic code’s viewed as a part of the system, deep in the subconscious, to be opposed / teased / gamed?

    When there are no stated laws, there is survival of the biggest:
    = a pedestrian will yield to a passenger car
    = a passenger car will yield to a bus
    = a bus will yield to a sixteen wheeler
    = a sixteen wheeler will yield to a tank
    = a tank will yield to a train [and so on]
    Note: the pedestrian, when on the bus, suddenly has more rights than small car drivers.

    PS To put in some humour (?), let’s hope that Poles will keep following the US way of life, and then, that our doctors willl emigrate to the UK, as will our teens (or there will be few teens, if demography sinks), and our lawyers will use their private jet planes.

  10. You have misinterpreted the roadsign. It is advertising a ‘highway dance’ (‘wypadki’ as they are called in Polish). 20 or 30 cars (mostly rusty Polonezy) turn up in the middle of a field, form a circle, and are left with their radios tuned to the same station and their headlights on. People dance around within this circle. A popular form of rural amusement.

  11. island1 says:

    Michael: :D

    If only it were true.

  12. […] for some answers to “is the T-14 road sign international or locally Polish” or “can people drive” (British people, by definition, too leftist, can’t), I found this site. Yeah, […]

  13. anna says:

    great article and totally true which is actually quite embarassing to admit to foreigners but hey, the truth must be told

    …everyone I know think of himself as best driver with excepitional skills… I have never met anyone who would consider himself as not such a good driver…..The biggest problem though is not the speed I guess but the total lack of good manners on the road… totally disrespectful for pedstrians and cyclist and other drivers…. seems there is a rule that if you have a nice, big expensive car yoo can be a total tosser and that’s totally acceptable

  14. island1 says:

    anna: He he, thanks. No need to admit it, we have seen with our own eyes! Still, I think the Italians and the Greeks are way ahead of you, so no need to be too embarrassed :)

    In my experience it’s universally true that the people who proclaim themselves to be great drivers are actually disasters waiting to happen and people who claim to be poor drivers are the safest on the roads.

  15. xerathin says:

    This sign doesn’t remind you not to hit people. It says, that you’re getting close to the place, where lot of accidents happened in the past, so you should have been more careful. And it’s way better, than signs, which just says, that you can’t go faster than xx kmph, because in case of “wypadki” sign you know, that it doesn’t stay here, because someone think, that this can be dangerous place – it stays here, because this place IS really dangerous.

  16. island1 says:

    xerathin: I wish I had your faith. But ok, I was only joking… kind of.

  17. guest says:

    i moved to america 8 years ago. and wow-if you americans think that polish people are bad drivers then i feel sorry for you because you can’t even see yourselves on the road. at least poles are nice to each other on the road. for example. in poland, if a person needs to merge into a busy lane, someone will let them without a problem and be thanked for it. in america, people will rarely let you go into their lane and will instead speed up to block the empty space. and if on occasion they do let them merge, they will never get a simple thank you. it’s easy to criticize other nationalities but look at the driving of your fellow americans. i seriously.

  18. island1 says:

    guest: I’m not American.

  19. […] They don’t give a misspellt piece of cutlery (was it “fork“?). […]

  20. L says:

    Polish drivers watched to many F1 races in their life. That’s all. They’re reckless drivers but not that bad. Go somewhere east from Poland. If you’d use your trafficators in Ukrain or Rusia you’d look like idiots or show-offs to the natives. I also heared a LOT of bad things about Italian drivers.

    And if anybody thinks that Poles can’t drive try going 100 in high traffic, cutting corners and useing strange shortcuts :)

  21. Anna says:

    oh my god. Polish people can drive u fag! How can u say that!! Poland’s not the country with the most car accidents, last time i checked that was america

  22. Anonymous says:

    Anna,

    Of course the USA has more accidents, there are more people.

    Have a look at this. http://www.driveandstayalive.com/info%20section/statistics/stats-multicountry-percapita-2004.htm

    Ok, it’s from 2004 but if you compare the number of people in a country with the number of accidents they have, you’ll see just how bad Poland is.

    Fact: Polish roads are very dangerous when compared with other countries.

    Now I know that the roads in Poland are not conducive to safe driving, but you can draw your own conclusions what that says about the standard of driving in Poland.

    In my opinion there are two major hurdles for people (not just the Polish) to get over to become good drivers:

    1. Get the ego out of driving – It’s not all about “me” but a team game. If we all drive in a manor where we think of other road users and not ourselves, we’ll all get where we’re going with less chance of a mishap.

    2. Accept the truth. You (and me) are not the best drivers in the world. At best, most of us are average drivers and need to accept it and drive accordingly.

    Rant over

    Chris

  23. Anonymous says:

    “Do you really need a sign reminding you NOT to drive into people?”
    I hope it`s a joke, cuz otherwise I have to tell you that the sign says “this is the place where many accidents happened, so be careful”

    I think Poles are bad drivers but not the worst. I`m also a bit worried about cursing too. Hopefully most drivers swear in their cars without opening the window(s).

    Anyway, crossing the road is taking your life in your hands regardless of the fact it`s Poland or UK or somewhere else.

    P.S. Sorry for my bad English.

  24. dave says:

    Poles are by far the the most aggressive drivers in Europe. Having lived in Berlin, Split, Prague, Budapest, and Wroclaw, I can definately say that the drivers in Poland are the most disrespectful and dangerous in all of Europe. Stop at a crosswalk? Only if you take the leap of faith. Passing on those narrow tree lined highways of death through blind corners. “At least we’re not as bad as the Ukrainians” doesn’t cut it.

    Greetings from a soon-to-be corpse.

  25. Slav says:

    While I agree with your observations about the recklessness and aggressive attitude of Polish drivers, after living in the UK for 5 months I can say British drivers are just as bad. And I don’t mean Poles living in the UK :)

  26. […] #1: Polish people are rude Myth #19: Polish people can drive Myth #21: Polish girls are gorgeous Myth #34: Polish people eat swans Myth #7: Polish people drink […]

  27. […] #1: Polish people are rude Myth #19: Polish people can drive Myth #21: Polish girls are gorgeous Myth #34: Polish people eat swans Myth #7: Polish people drink […]

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