If half of the world driving on the left side of the road and the other on the right side of the world wasn’t confusing enough, let’s give you some really bizarre driving rules that don’t make any sense to us. What’s sauce for the goose should be for the gander as well, but that's not how the wheel goes round in many parts of the world. You really have to read up on driving laws of various countries and even counties within the same country, lest you get pulled over for breaking the law. And with a foreign passport in your hand, the law may not look too kindly upon you in the first place, which is why when in doubt, you should hail a cab or at least an Uber…
While some driving laws make sense according to the part of the world you're in, some are so archaic or senseless in nature, we wonder what the lawmakers were high on when they passed these rules. And there are also those laws that are simply impossible to break because there's no way even Murphy’s Law could get you in a situation like that. You remember Murphy’s laws, right? The most applicable one of them is that if something can go wrong, it always will. So, that goes for driving a vehicle in a foreign land. If you spot a cop car, it'll inadvertently chase you down and hand you a ticket for starters. Argue too much, and you may find your papers impounded. Argue even more, and we guarantee that you'll be frog-marched out of that country in a jiffy and banned from entering the said border ever again. Now, how’s that for a driving vacation? As we said, either read up on the driving laws of the place you're headed to or learn to whistle down a cab like they do in the movies.
20 Your License Plate Keeps You Off The Road In The Philippines
Most countries in the world are making efforts, both big and small, in a bid to go green and lessen pollution. So, there are strict norms in place about the emission from cars, the fuel used, or even the age of the cars. But in the capital of the Philippines, Manila, things are way more confusing. According to Complex, here's how the driving-day law works over there. If your license plate ends with a 1 or a 2, you're not allowed on the roads on Mondays. If the last number on your license plate is a 3 or a 4, you can't drive on Tuesdays. If the license plate ends in a 5 or a 6, then no driving on Wednesdays. So, for Thursdays, it’s a no-go for 7 and 8, and for Fridays, 9 and 0 are off the roads. We're not sure what the weekend brings, but it could be that on Saturday and Sunday, all cars are allowed. We understand the need to do this because Manila is one of the most congested cities in the world, and the traffic jams are epic indeed. People there have set up mobile offices in their cars considering they're always stuck on the road!
19 Better Wash Your Car In Russia
According to popular misconception and incorrect reporting, it's assumed that driving a dirty car in Moscow is illegal and will incur a hefty fine. In truth, according to BBC, it’s a dirty license plate that’s obscured that incurs the fine. However, with most if not all people on roads being a tad unaware of what the actual law is, it makes it easier for corrupt officials in Russia or elsewhere to take advantage of a “dirty crime” and take a bribe instead of a fine. The winters in Russia are probably the harshest in the world, and the road conditions turn so dangerous in blizzards and snow storms that most prefer not to drive at all. When the snow melts, all Russian vehicles seemingly come out of hibernation, and there’s an influx on the road. Usually, at this time, the traffic cops tend to launch a Clean Car campaign. The basic idea is to keep the traffic smooth and make sure the plates are visible. But having an extraordinarily dirty car is reason enough for you to get pulled over and for the cops to demand a bribe or a fine. Either way, it's a good idea to run a clean car that doesn’t shed while it eats the miles, right?
18 In Japan, Pay A Fine For Splashing Pedestrians
We all end up making this mistake, that of accidentally splashing mud or water or muddy water on pedestrians as we drive through a water-filled pothole. Mostly, this happens because we saw the muddy rut at the last moment and couldn’t avoid it fast enough. Some drivers, though, do this on purpose, pulling a rather dirty prank on passersby—not a good thing at all. But in most parts of the world, all you can do is yell some invectives at the speeding car and rue the waste of good clothes. While some conscientious drivers stop and offer their apologies as well as the dry-cleaning cost, most of the world tends to drive away without a thought.
The only country that thinks about the mud-splashed pedestrians is Japan.
So, if you drive up a splash there and end up drenching or spraying any pedestrian with dirty ditch water—or even clean ditch water for that matter—you'll end up paying a fine. And if Japan had just had some torrential rains or typhoons and the roads are full of stagnant rainwater, the fine goes higher. Basically, politeness demands that you drive carefully and slow enough to pass through the pothole and the stagnant water without any untoward splashes on pedestrians.
17 In Idaho, The Cops Have To Be Ever So Polite
Coeur d'Alene is a lovely little city in northwest Idaho famous for the Coeur d'Alene lake and watersports and one very strange, if polite, traffic law. Here, if a police officer approaches a vehicle where he thinks that the occupants are indulging in some hooky, he cannot embarrass the crap out of them. In most cities, cops would directly knock on the window and shine their flashlights in, making sure the couple is as embarrassed as they could be, and there have been reports of cops even filming the whole show to laugh about it later. But in this lovely little Idaho town, the cop must either honk or flash his lights and wait for three minutes before approaching the car. While you could joke that the government of Idaho is nice enough to let the couple finish up, the reality is not so romantic. This law was created to allow you some decency and get your clothes back on. If you still have the passion to finish what you shouldn’t have started in a public place, well, that’s up to you. Most cops would prefer that you cover up and come out immediately so that they can slap a fine on you and be on their tickled way.
16 When In China, Don't Stop For Pedestrians
According to NYTimes, China’s traffic fatalities are double those in the United States, yet China has only one-third the cars on the road. Till 2004, if any motorist stopped to let a pedestrian pass, he was actually fined. It took years for this mentality to become so rooted that even after the law was changed in 2004, motorists don't stop for pedestrians.
In 2004, China passed Article 47 of China’s first-ever collection of traffic laws, the Road Traffic Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China, which according to NPC, states, “When passing a pedestrian crosswalk, the driver shall reduce speed, and when pedestrians are passing the crosswalk, the driver shall stop to give way to the pedestrians.” But this law is never enforced, and according to Huffington Post, the pedestrians in China are at the bottom rung of the traffic chain.
Horrific incidents such as a policeman refusing to drive a one-year-old hit-and-run victim are very common this side of the world.
So basically, if you have a vehicle, you're the king of the road in China. The pedestrians huddle together in groups to cross, and there, motorists tend to swerve around them but don't stop to let the sea of humanity pass.
15 Keep Away Your Dirty Underwear From Your Car In San Francisco
I've tried to wrap my head around this one, but I'm failing oh-so-badly. It’s like I have so many questions! Firstly, why would you want to wipe, clean, or buff your car with dirty, used underwear? Seriously, like why? Why would you want your car smelling like dirty underwear even if voices in your head tell you that you're Captain Underpants? Secondly, who’s to know that you actually wiped your car with the underwear you've been wearing since last week? Are there underwear-sniffing traffic cops in this strange, strange city? And even if because of some glitch in the Matrix, you were caught wiping your car with a dirty pair of underpants, what would they do to you? Make you wash precinct bathrooms with a toothbrush? And finally, let’s come to the most important question: who was the guy who wiped so many cars with dirty underwear that an actual law had to be put down on paper making it illegal for people to do so? There had to be that one wacko who caused such a freaky law was passed, right? I mean, why else would you even think of such a law? Answers, anyone?
14 Women Can Own A Car In Saudi Arabia But Can't Drive It
When it comes to actual law, neither the Islamic nor the Saudi law explicitly prohibits any woman from driving. So, is this all a rumor? No. In fact, many clerics and scholars were behind this blanket ban on women driving cars, so much so that if a woman was caught behind the wheel, she was detained. TheSun reports that in 1990, a major protest saw 50 women drivers travel through the streets of the country's capital, Riyadh. Were they applauded? Hardly. In fact, they were arrested and lost their passports and jobs.
In 2011, a woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for driving, though the late King Abdullah did overturn the sentence before it was carried out.
So, why the ban? Ultraconservative clerics saw this as a corruption of the society, and some even went as far as saying that driving damages a woman’s ovaries and fertility and gives her pleasurable vibrations. In 2017, things changed—on paper, at least. A royal order was decreed that both women and men should be issued driving licenses and that women didn’t need to have a guardian’s approval for the same. But with most women in this country still being under the whims and fancies of men, the change from paper to reality will take a while in coming.
13 In Denmark, You Have To Check Under The Car Before You Drive
We don't know the veracity of this law because reading Danish isn’t a strong point of ours, but according to CarThrottle, there’s one thing you need to do in Denmark before you drive off into the sunset, and that's checking under your car for sleeping children. Why a child would crank his or her little body in position under your car and go off to sleep there is our biggest question. And why do you always have to check your parked car for sleeping children but not awake ones is also another mystery. As much as we like Danish cookies, we think this law is just plain kooky. It could be an archaic survivor from the times of yore when children of the street played their little game of hiding and go seek under horse carriages, but that, too, seems more like a figment of our own imaginations than the truth. If so, we’d see this law reflected in many other countries as well. But there’s many a slip between the written-down law and its eventual transcription on the Internet, so maybe the actual meaning got lost in translation somewhere. Maybe it meant for you to check for little critters and creatures instead of children…
12 In Louisiana, Your Husband Needs To Run In Front
No, we aren't joking. In what's perhaps the most antiquated and sexist law of America, Louisiana and New Orleans have this on paper. According to Mandatory, the law states that in these states, it's illegal for a woman to drive a car unless her husband is running ahead waving a flag in front of it. Now, when was this law formed, to begin with? When were cars so slow that men could actually jog in front of them without toppling over from a stroke? Or was it formed to keep women driving at speeds slow enough to match their husband’s stride because the wife should always follow in her husband’s lead, even when driving? Or was it formed by someone who so distrusted a woman’s driving skills that he’d be happy to make her a widow? If the woman didn't drive well, the poor husband would be the first to be mowed down under the car! Is this the law from which jokes about women being bad drivers come from? Frankly, we're surprised that women from these states haven’t filed a motion to dismiss this joke of a law, or maybe they never got over the utter cheekiness of this legal statement.
11 In Alaska, Don't Tie Your Dog To The Roof Of The Car!
During a family vacation in 1983, Mitt Romney drove for 12 hours with his dog, Seamus, tied to the top of the car in a windshield-equipped carrier. This was dubbed a mistreatment of the poor pooch, and Romney was trolled by the world and the media in general. Of course, 20 years later, he became governor of Massachusetts, so apparently, all publicity is good publicity! The Alaskan law of not tying your dog to the roof of your car isn’t as silly as it sounds because it states that no animal can be carried on the outside of your car, period. According to Dumb Laws, the actual law states, "No person driving a motor vehicle shall transport any animal in the back of the vehicle in a space intended for any load on the vehicle on a street unless the space is enclosed or has side and tail walls to a height of at least 46 inches extending vertically from the floor, or the animal is cross tethered to the vehicle, or is protected by a secured container or cage, in a manner which will prevent the animal from being thrown, falling or jumping from the vehicle." Doesn’t sound so dumb now, does it?
10 It’s Illegal To Stop Your Vehicle On The Autobahn In Germany
Remember that the Autobahn isn’t for the faint-hearted or the nerves-stricken driver. While the speeds are kph and not mph, most German drivers are aggressive, love speed, and can change lanes faster than you can blink. The autobahn is perfectly suited to this temperament for it's mostly without a speed limit. Yep, you read that right—you're free to barrel down this highway at the most reckless speed you want to, except then, you may suddenly face a logjam at the next curve. But driving slow on this road will spell not just German invectives coming your way but also certain death.
Not only have the Germans been building the most awesome cars for long; they've also built a superior highway that urges you to keep driving on with roads as smooth as silk.
In fact, you should give in to this urge very strongly because it's strictly illegal to stop or have your car break down for any reason other than an emergency. And running out of fuel isn't an emergency but driver negligence. If you ignore this law, do so at your own peril–depending on the reason, you could face a six-month driving ban or even five years in prison!
9 Even In The Bright Sun, Scandinavian Headlamps Are On
The Scandinavian countries have their own set of driving laws, though most Swedes are pretty aggressive drivers. If you've ever driven in Stockholm, you've noticed the lack of patience. Most drivers conveniently overtake after flashing their indicators, whether you have space to move or not! And hardly any of them stop at red lights. Now, another thing you may have noticed in the Nordic counties is that they always drive with headlamps on, whether it's day or night, sunny or not. Why? Because this side of the world is often minus a sun for days on end. And with many cities on this side being dark and gloomy for months in a row, the governments simply decided that headlamps need to be on at all times. The older cars thus keep their headlamps on, while the newer models don't have an off switch at all. While it may make sense on some days, on the days the sun shines on this part of the world, brightening both spirits and roads, you may feel the need to do a facepalm after getting blinded by headlamps all through your drive. Shouldn’t headlamps be left to the driver’s discretion? After all, who'd drive on a dark road without their lights on in any case?
8 The Swiss Don't Allow Any Car-washing On Sundays
Nope, it’s got nothing to do with Sabbath–wrong country and people for that matter. But the Swiss really, really love their Sundays. In fact, they love their post-10 pm peace as well. So, there’s a law there that says that you cannot slam your car door after 10 pm because it disturbs the peacefully sleeping gentlefolk. So, as angry as you are at your date, resist the urge to slam the car door in his face if it’s past 10 in the night. For that matter, don’t even think of having a late-night soak because draining out the bathtub or even flushing after 10 in the night is considered disturbing and rude. Unlike most countries in the world, including Liz Taylor’s version of America where she lovingly washes the car on a Sunday, in Switzerland, you cannot do that. Furthermore, power washers make noise, so using them on a Sunday to wash the grit and grime off your wheels is a big no. According to NewlySwissed, washing your car in the driveway is illegal because of the concerns the Swiss have about detergent polluting the groundwater and the soil. So, you might as well not wash your vehicle in Switzerland, period.
7 When In The Car, Keep Your Top On In Thailand
The next time the heat hits you and you decide to lose the shirt and drive topless, you better hope that you're anywhere but in Thailand. Why? While topless bars and clubs are all the rage in this country, driving a vehicle minus a shirt or a tee is strictly illegal. And this sauce is for the goose and the gander, meaning you cannot drive topless in Thailand whether you're a man or a woman. While the Thai cops won't come and haul your ass into jail in case the heat got you into a bother and you had to whip that shirt off, they'll hand out tickets. The penalty is no major deal, rather, a slap on the wrist, as it runs to a few hundred baht (which is barely $10), but unless you really want the cops to come and embarrass you in Thailand, keep that shirt on. Plus, the risk of a sunburn in this Asian country is pretty great, so keeping your top on is a good way to keep the hot sun out rather than in. Australia has no such qualms, though a woman going topless isn't a good idea unless the idea is to cause a traffic pileup and be arrested for indecent exposure.
6 Driving In California? Don't Wear A Housecoat, Woman!
In California, women are free to drive, of course, unlike in Saudi Arabia. But on one condition–they shouldn't be wearing housecoats or a bathrobe. Why? Well, I'm guessing it's so that the other drivers on the road don't get tempted by all that tantalizing skin and end up in a pileup. Or maybe it's because the woman driving in a house robe may be too absent-minded to drive right considering she forgot to dress herself up before leaving. But there are plenty more whacky California traffic laws, too, like the one that states that it's illegal for a car without a driver to travel more than 60 mph. So, will the car be put in jail? And even if someone is trying to murder you, it's illegal to jump from a vehicle moving more than 65 mph. So, before you escape that kidnapper or carjacker, make sure the car is slower than 65 mph. Otherwise, you'll be arrested before your attacker! Oh, and it’s also illegal to sleep on the road in Cali because, hey, everyone just loves to do that, put down for a good night’s sleep right in the middle of a busy intersection…
5 Also From California: You Can Shoot Whales While You Drive
Another jaw-dropping weird and dumb driving law comes to you from the sunny state of California.
According to Mandatory, it's a misdemeanour to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle unless the target is a whale—in California, that is.
Ironically, shooting whales is already out and illegal, so now, you can’t do that either. Also, you’d have to be some sort of a James Bond-ish character to be able to wield a wheel through the California coastal roads and, at the same time, spot a whale, load your gun, take aim, and shoot the poor thing, also making sure that you don’t ram your vehicle into another unsuspecting hunter’s car who was also doing the same thing. Once you had shot the whale and presumably killed it, you’d have to be some sort of an Olympic water champion to dive into the waters from a cliff, retrieve the dead whale, and haul it back to the car. Then, of course, since you illegally shot the whale you could legally shoot from your moving vehicle, you’d probably be jailed or put in a mental institution for the rest of your Californian life for believing the law in first place!
4 If Nature Calls, Answer It On Your Car’s Rear Wheel In The UK
The next time you're driving down from one unpronounceable “shire” to another in the country so ruled by the Queen–aka the United Kingdom–keep in mind this very archaic law. If you've had too much of the coffee and the water but don't possess the stiff British upper lip when nature calls, you can pee in public. The only condition is that you can only aim and shoot on the rear right wheel of your horseless carriage, meaning, it has to be a car or maybe an ox-cart with four wheels. Basically, in the UK, you have the right to take a leak on the road, and if you thought this law was nothing but a prank, we kid you not. According to BBC, it's legal for a male to urinate in public as long it's on the rear wheel of his motor vehicle and his right hand is on the vehicle. So, if you can manage to aim and shoot at the rear right wheel of your car using only your left hand, well, who needs bathrooms anyway? If that wasn’t funny enough for you, by law, British taxi drivers are also supposed to ask their passenger if they have smallpox or the plague. We don't know what they do with the answers...
3 You Cannot Drive Blindfolded In Alabama, But Can You Anywhere Else?
So, you thought driving down the highway with the wind in your hair and AC/DC blasting from the speakers was going to be your freedom from life’s anathemas? Well, you thought wrong. Driving a car may seem to be a way to freedom, but in fact, there are a million rules and regulations to follow that often change with the city, state, and country. Think about this. Imagine you were driving down to Alabama from say... Ohio. It would be perfectly legal for you put on a blindfold and start your drive, but the moment you reached Sweet Home Alabama, the blindfold would have to come off. Seriously, it's illegal in Alabama to drive with a blindfold on. So no hide and go seek with traffic out here–what a damper! In a world where in some countries, it's illegal to run out of gas or for women to drive or for women to drive in house-robes, clearly, Alabama takes the whole fun out of driving. Imagine barreling down the highway with some death metal blaring on your speakers, with you in a blindfold–what fun would that be? Shame on you, Alabama! In God we trust, so if we trust our driving skills in a blindfold, why won’t you? Like come on... how bad could it be?
2 In The UK, Rude Gestures Can Land You A Hefty Fine
In the UK, any driver caught making a "rude hand gesture" while driving shall no longer be let go with a slap on the wrist or a stern warning.
Now, if you so much as raise your fist to a car that just sped by you, making you drop that hot coffee in your lap, you could end up paying a fine that's as much as 75 percent of your weekly wage but capped at a maximum £1,000.
Steep? You bet. It's a whopping $1,300+ fine! So, the next time someone is tailgating you, take a deep breath, and let them pass—unless you want to pay that crushingly expensive fine just for laughs! The offense was classified as "disorderly conduct" under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and carries with it a criminal penalty. Another reason for the fine is that when you make these very rude hand gestures, you're taking at least one of your hands off the wheel, which means you're not being a conscientious driver at all. Remember, road rage will only cause trouble for you, especially with this kind of financial fine. So, keep calm, and keep both hands on the wheel. You can always swear under your breath to let off steam!
1 It May Be Illegal To Drink And Drive Even Water In The US & The UK
No, the cops have nothing against you being hydrated and healthy. And it’s perfectly okay in most parts of the world to eat some chips or fries if you're feeling a bit peckish on the road. The basic idea is to keep your eyes on the road at all times, lest an unexpected occurrence sends you off the road and knocking on heaven’s door. Eating or drinking (any non-alcoholic beverage, too) whilst driving puts you at a disadvantage, so it’s really not as daft as it sounds. Anything that requires you to take your eyes or mind off the road or hands off the wheel is known as a distraction. Why? Because it reduces the control you have over the wheel and the car. So, if you're busy rooting for a big fry in a bag while navigating a road that's known for sudden wildlife appearance, chances are, you won't be able to react fast enough to avoid an accident. By swerving all over the road trying to tear open a very stubborn power bar, you're making the roads a more dangerous place for yourself and other drivers around you. Prepare to be fined! Better fill up at a pit stop instead.
Sources: Complex.com, NPC.gov.cn, HuffingtonPost.com, NYTimes.com, BBC.co.uk,