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32 Weird Road Rules From Around the World

Road rules are designed to help keep us safe and establish a sense of order on our roads.  At least, that’s the assumption.  But taking a look at some of them from around the world, you’d be forgiven for thinking whoever set them shouldn’t be trusted behind the wheel of a vehicle.  Yes, some are outdated.  Some are weird but you can assume what the intent behind them is.  But some... some are just downright bizarre and must have been dreamt up after spending too long-standing by an exhaust pipe.

The United States of Weird Road Rules

With so many people and different States all able to set their own rules, it’s no wonder some of them have a local flavour all of their own.  

1. Watch out - there’s a pigeon up ahead.  

If you’re driving in Utah birds have the right of way on the highway.  

2. Washington is not a place for criminals that wish to remain anonymous. 

You presume most criminals wish to maintain the secrecy of their work. In which case, they should avoid Washington.  Because the law clearly states a motorist with criminal intentions must stop at the State line and telephone the Chief of Police to let them know of their impending arrival.    

driver calling cellphone
You should call the police if you are up to some mischief in Washington

3.  Beware of mountains should they suddenly appear from nowhere.

Nebraska may not have any mountains but that hasn’t stopped them from planning for their sudden arrival.  So much so, drivers are advised to drive with caution near the right edge of the highway on mountain roads (despite there being none of them).

4. Keep the ape upfront

It’s likely not a big deal.  But if you do happen to be driving with your pet Gorilla in Massachusetts, be sure not to let them sit on the backseat.  That would be illegal.

 5. Be careful of your modifications

Should you like to personalise your ride, please be sure to keep the steering wheel.  In Illinois, you can be arrested for driving without one. Seems fair enough, really.  

6. The couple that drives together...

A Husband and Wife in Louisiana should make sure they know the rules.  Should the wife wish to drive, it’s the husband's duty to wave a flag in front of the car before she can drive off.   

7.  Pedestrians are $78 each

When driving through Sarasota in Florida, be sure to have some cash in case you clip a pedestrian or two.  Each time will cost you the grand sum of $78.

driver hit pedestrian
We can only assume that some other penalties would also apply for clipping pedestrians these days.

 8. Keep your boxer shorts off the bonnet

Keeping your ride gleaming is essential.  But if you live in San Francisco then don’t do it in your essentials.  Buffing or drying your car with used underwear is a no-no.  

 9. Addressing the elephant in the room

Well, the elephant in the car park anyway.  Should you feel the urge to go to town with your elephant and take up a car parking space, you’ll need to feed the meter like everyone else.  In Florida, there’s a law for it (it covers goats and alligators too - as you’d expect).  

 10. You can make the news by reading the news

You can in Michigan anyway.  They do have a good point though.  You really shouldn’t be sitting in the middle of the road, reading a newspaper.  And if you do, expect a fine.   

11. Be careful what colour car you have

This is important.  Choose a black car and, if you live in Denver, keep it parked up on Sundays.  Black cars cannot be driven on Sundays.  Probably the best reason for not visiting the Mother-in-law we’ve ever come across.    

black cars parked
On Sundays, better choose another means of transport if you own a black car in Denver.

12 . Where sheep must be escorted

In Montana, don’t step away and leave those sheep in the back of your truck.  They need to be chaperoned at all times.   

13. Superman will not save you

Should you feel the need to read a comic book whilst driving, don’t.  Especially don’t in Oklahoma as they have a law specifically against it.  One can only assume it was a big problem at some point. 

14. Keep that Duck under your Hat

Cross-State lines into Minnesota with a duck on your head and you’ll have cooked your goose.  They don’t like folk doing it in these parts, so it has been outlawed.   

15. Get dressed for Kmart

No longer can we head to Kmart or the drive-thru in our dressing gowns.  At least, not if you're a female in California.  For it’s against the law for females to drive in dressing gowns there.  Sorry fellas - that late-night Maccas run is all yours! 

16. You cannot sleep here

Don’t even think about having a lay down on the road if you’re in California.  You might dodge the cars but you can't dodge the boys in blue.  It’s illegal to use the road as a bed.   

17. Ghosts better keep it under 60mph

Staying in California, we’re not sure who gets the ticket...but it's illegal for an unoccupied vehicle to go faster than 60mph.   

unoccupied vehicle road v2
In Cali, unoccupied vehicles must stay under 60mph

18. Beware of ocean mammals

It’s illegal to shoot at animals from a moving vehicle in California, unless it’s at a whale. We guess they must be viewed as a particular threat on some coastal roads.  Although that doesn’t explain why the law also applies in Tennessee.  Because Tennessee is land-locked.   

19. Make sure to maintain a clear view of the road 

Rather sensibly, in Texas, should you wish to register a vehicle then it must have windscreen wipers fitted.  This makes perfect sense.  Until you consider you’re not required to have a windscreen fitted.    

20. Where the road is paved with food

Road kill is fair game for anyone in West Virginia.  It’s perfectly ok to scrape what you want from the road for your roadside BBQ delights.   

21. Uber aggressive cabbies

If you need a ride in New Mexico then be aware cabbies are not allowed to grab you and pull you into their cab.  There’s a law against it.  Saturday nights trying to get home must have been complicated before that one came in.   

22. Smile if you see a Policeman

When driving in New Jersey be sure to keep a smile on your grill.  If you don't and then clock a Policeman, you might be given another reason not to smile.  Yes, it’s illegal to frown at the Police in NJ. 

car pullover policeman
Pulled over in New Jersey? A smile will keep you on the right side of the law.

23. Beware of pedestrians on the pavement

When driving on the pavement in Oregon, it’s best to remember that pedestrians have the right of way.  As you would expect, we guess.   

24. Send a signal

To conclude our tour of the weird rules in the United States, we have to travel to Pennsylvania.  You need to be well prepared for night time drives on country roads in this State.  In particular, you’ll need flares and a lot of patience.  All because you’ll be required to stop every mile and let off a flare, then wait for 10 minutes for any livestock to clear the road.  

The Rest of the World’s Weird Road Rules

Let’s not think the US is alone in coming up with bizarre rules.  They might have a few of the more memorable ones but no country is immune from whatever crazy accompanies lawmakers on issues of the road.  

 

25. Keep it clean in Russia

Moscow does not settle for dirty cars.  So they’ve outlawed them.  For a place that gets around 1.5 metres of snow every year, it must take some doing to keep your car clean in winter.  

26 -  Be sure to look underneath in Denmark

It’s a legal requirement to check underneath the vehicle for any children hiding before you set off for a drive in Denmark.  It’s hard to argue against this even if it does seem a little strange.  

27. No Sunday car cleaning in Switzerland

It might be the perpetual habit of suburbanites in many countries but not in Switzerland.  Famously neutral, they nevertheless take a stand against the tyranny of cleaning cars on Sundays. 

 

dirty car wash me
If it's Sunday and in Switzerland, this car is going to have to wait.

28. Don’t break down in Germany

It must be tough driving on the autobahn in a car that’s not quite up to scratch.  Not because you can’t have fun with the lack of speed limits but because you’re not allowed to break down.  So best have a strong word with your vehicle before you set off, so it knows the rules.   

29. You’ll need spare spectacles in Spain

To be honest, this makes sense.  In Spain, if you wear prescription glasses then you’re required to keep a spare pair in the vehicle.  That way, should you leave your glasses behind in a restaurant or lose them, there’s a spare set so you can still drive home.  

 

New Zealand’s Strange Road Rules

This is the bit where we say our rules aren’t that strange and we are so normal compared to the rest of the world.  The thing is though, we really are.  Here’s some of the strangest we could find (warning: they genuinely aren’t that strange):

 

30. Stuff on your lap

There’s a rule that says no pets, packages or other such stuff should be on your lap or held in your arms whilst driving.   

31. Shhh now

It’s against the law to create excessive noise.  So playing that banging tune so loud you can't hear the engine is a no-no.  We’re not sure what that means for EV driving though.  Presumably, you have to sit in silence.   

32. Listen to the farmers 

If a farmer is moving stock between paddocks on a country road, then do what they say.  It’s the law.


It’s all a bit disappointing really.  It would be nice to have something random.  Like ‘it’s illegal to drive with a llama sticking its head out the sunroof’.  I guess we’ll just have to manage that one ourselves until it becomes a problem.

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When driving around the world...

...obey the law (if you can) and stay safe with the right tyres in any road conditions. 

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