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Driving in Ukraine

Most international rules apply in Ukraine. However many Ukrainian drivers fail to follow them.

Car rental in Odessa
(click here)

General Driving Laws
Speed limits are:

  • 60 km (37 miles) an hour in cities
  • 90 km (56 miles) an hour in suburbs and less populated areas
  • 130 km (81 miles) an hour on highways.

Any alcohol in a driver's blood is prohibited. Do not expect the luxury of a Breathalyzer test. Traffic police will make the decision to charge based only on the smell of your breath.

State traffic police (GAI/ ГAI, or ДAI / DAI in Ukrainian) wear dark gray or blue uniforms and carry black and white batons which they wave to order you to pull over. They will often park next to a busy road and flag cars to pull over, regardless if any of these cars have any moving violations.

Traffic violations should go before the court, paying a fine on the spot has been completely abolished. (Although it is common for drivers to bribe the police to avoid court)

Traffic police sometimes regulate traffic at intersections, particularly when the electricity shuts down.

Distance from Kiev to Odessa:
Distance from Lviv to Odessa:
Distance from Simferopol to Odessa:

480 kilometers (298 miles)
743 kilometers (461 miles)
473 kilometers (298 miles)

 


Beware of student drivers, indicated by this sign.

Street names
Street names are often hard to see from a car, usually being on the buildings. All signs are in Ukrainian or Russian.

Parking
Parking in Odessa is difficult. Park in designated parking areas to ensure the safety of your car. State owned parking is located around the city and have varying prices dependant on the location of the lot.

Fuel Stations
Credit cards are rarely accepted. Payment is by the liter. (.26 gallons)

Entering Ukraine by Car
A private's individual vehicle entering Ukraine must be registered at the DAI no later than two months after the entrance date. The car must also be withdrawn from registration before leaving the country. Information on the registration process is available at GAI.

International Drivers License
Foreigners must have an international driver's license issued in the country of their citizenship and personal passport with a valid visa.

Foreign drivers are permitted to use their driver's license one year from the date of entering Ukraine without registering it at GAI.

After a year they need to pass a required driving exam in order to register the driver's license at GAI.

Address for more information on the required driving exam and registration:

Region (Oblast) registration and examination department
(областное регистрационное- экзаменационное отделение)

Akademeka Koroleva 5 (Академика Королева)
Tel: 47-77-85

Be warned: A driving exam and most especially registration will be an incredibly bureaucratic and difficult process, exposing the foreigner to the worst of the infamous Ukrainian bureaucracy.

Car insurance
Every driver is required to have Driver's liability license Ukraine by law, which can be purchased in Ukraine. Another way for a foreigner to have an insurance Green card, issued in their country

Purchasing liability insurance costs between Hr 8 and Hr 16 for Hr 2,000 worth of insurance coverage per year. Liability insurance covers only medical costs associated with the injuries of passengers in your and other cars or pedestrians involved in an accident caused by your car.

Green card
A green card can be acquired from various insurance companies. Ukraine is a member of the International Green card system.

Accidents
If a foreign green card holder causes an accident, that person should hand their green card over to the accident victim and immediately notify the GAI of the accident. The accident victim is eligible to receive damages from the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ukraine. Telephone: (044) 227-7184

If you are in an accident:

  • Wait for the State Automobile Inspection officials to arrive.
  • Do not leave the scene of the accident.
  • To avoid being swindled, do not agree to settle the accident without the police

Unwritten rules of the road
Like in many countries, when a car heading towards you flashes their lights, this means that:

  • there is an upcoming speed trap,
  • your beams are on high, or
  • in the case of pedestrians, move out of the way.

 


Unique car dangers, this vehicle fell through the
weak delapitated street in the middle of Odessa
Photo from web

Driving in Ukraine

  • Close your eyes, hold onto something, and pray.
  • Almost all Ukrainian taxi drivers should be recruited by American racing circuits.
  • The drivers know the exact width of their cars.
  • The horn solves all problems.
  • Who has the right-of-way? Your driver.
  • Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way.
  • If you hear a car horn while you are in the street, run to the nearest curb.
  • If you hear a car horn while you are on the sidewalk, run into the nearest building.
  • Most roads do not have lines to indicate lanes.
  • Roads that do have lines to indicate lanes are driven on just like those without lines.
  • Most roads have potholes that your driver will swerve all over (ALL OVER) the road to avoid.
  • If there is a large pothole in the road and another vehicle is coming towards you, your driver has the right to swerve in front of them and make them stop.
  • If there are cars already in the turn lane, it is okay to make a new turn lane to cut in front of them.
  • It doesn't matter how many cars are between your car and the intersection, your driver will find a way to get to the front.
  • Most cars are the typical Eastern European small boxy cars that were created in the 70's.
  • All cars are stick shift.
  • Most cars do not have air-conditioning.
  • The rear left door of most taxi cabs cannot be opened.
  • Red means stop, then comes yellow which means "get ready", and then green means go.
  • If you are crossing the road and you see a yellow light, run to the nearest curb. Drivers take off on the yellow lights.
  • Red lights can be ignored if your driver is in a hurry.
  • Flashing yellow lights are broken. They could mean caution, but it wouldn't matter anyways.
  • A typical drive in a taxi costs 5 to 10 greevna, which is equivalent to $1 or $2.
  • There is no need to tip drivers.
  • Be quiet when approaching a taxi with your translator. Let your translator negotiate a price before the driver hears your English and knows you are a foreigner. You'll get a better price this way.
  • The above driving rules are void if there is a road cop standing nearby.
  • Be prepared to stop for cattle and goats on country roads.
  • Always check the seat when you get out of a taxi to be sure you did not forget anything.
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