Rules of the Road
Driving in Ukraine involves dealing with a few difficulties. Some of these – bad roads, unhelpful signs in Cyrillic, very low driving culture – are only frustrating, but one problem is more sinister: Ukrainian traffic police (DAI). It has strong reputation for fishing for bribes. If you are stopped and blamed for the Road rules violation, there are two ways of sorting out the problem: to pay in cash or insist on legal procedure (through drawing up a report). If you don’t accept the statement you have a right not to sign it or to comment: “Not agree”. That allows you to appeal upon the fine bill getting by post later.
The fines charge has been restricted recently and varies between UAH 50 – 3500 (e.g. for drunk-driving). The most favourable “sins” for fining are: speed limit breaking, unfasten seatbelts, incorrect moving on road crossings...
A useful tip for any common driver in Ukraine: beware of prestigious cars, especially with governmental and police plate numbers. They ignore the traffic rules very often and usually fall on their feet in any case.
There is rather poor pedestrian culture in Ukraine. Passerbies often cross the streets, ignoring both pedestrian crosses and red lights.
Speed limit in Ukraine is 60km/h – in settlements, 90km/h – outside a settlement and 120km/h – on motorways (which are very few in Ukraine).
While planning the trip, don’t rely on the map: quality of the Ukrainian roads differs much though their equal visual specification. There are very few rather good quality roads – actually, around the key cities – not farther than 100km from the outer ring road and some international rank motorways. It is reasonable to estimate your movement at average speed 80 km/h.
Video registration device (“videoregistrator” – in Rus.) – has become the most asked car device for the past years. It is fixed close to the windscreen to record everything, happening ahead of the vehicle. (Some drivers also shoot the backside picture). That record may facilitate you in argument with the road police much. The drivers also helps each other with the records in case of accident.
A more comprehensive guide in English on traffic police can be found here