Throughout the world, different countries make their own laws, rules, and regulations. These systems of laws vary greatly in each of them and help to define the culture and values of the state. While some nations may cherish individual freedom and deregulation, others believe that stricter rules aid in creating a more homogeneous population. These laws can extend all the way from serious criminal activities to simple road rules.
One such country with uncompromising and strange laws is the United Kingdom. More specifically, their road rules/laws. Compared to the United States, the U.K. has multiple practices that seem peculiar to the average American. So, in this vein, here is a list of 10 weird driving laws in the U.K. that you probably didn't know existed.
10 No Dirt On The License Plate
This rule isn't particularly shocking at first glance, however, it goes further than the laws in the United States. In the U.S., you cannot deliberately use anything to block law-enforcement or cameras from viewing your tag, but the U.K. goes as far as to say no dirt or snow blocking it.
The law brings into question a few things: Are drivers with slightly dirty cars at risk of getting pulled over/cited? What about individuals who don't have direct access to vehicle care maintenance? It's hard to tell the exact answers but is interesting none-the-less.
9 Splashing People With Puddles
Although this may not be the most common offense committed, it's still punishable by law. Most of these scenarios have special conditions to even happen in the first place and are often relegated to scenes in the movies when the protagonist is having a bad day.
The United Kingdom is known for it's inclement weather though, and there could be a situation where a driver soaks an innocent bystander on a rainy day in London. What is really crazy is the fact that such an accident could cost the motorist as much as £5000 (Worth about $6380) and multiple points against the driver's license. It seems somewhat harsh for something that could be an innocent mistake.
8 No Cradling Babies
Child seating laws are something that almost all parents are aware of. Knowing these rules help keep their kids safe as well as assist in avoiding tickets. The U.S. is pretty simple, allowing parents to attend to their needy child if needed in a vehicle, but the U.K. believes differently.
Passengers in a motor vehicle are not allowed to hold or pick up a child in most circumstances (Excluding serious emergencies). This can be troubling for many parents who want to keep their baby close to them to tend to their needs, rather than leaving them in the back away from a direct line-of-sight. of course, nobody will be jailed for such a minor infraction. However, they may still get a ticket for just trying to be a responsible guardian.
7 Paying With A Phone While In A Drive-Thru
Technology offers luxuries that would be unheard of years ago. They make life easier, help people connect with one and other, and aid in individual growth as a whole. Mobile paying is an example of such a luxury but is limited drastically overseas while in a motor vehicle. This is due to the U.K.'s serious laws against cellphone use in cars.
Drivers who use their phone for mobile paying in a fast-food drive-thru can be subject to legal action for taking advantage of this convenience. The odds of being incarcerated for doing so is highly unlikely, but the driver can still be ticketed and, if the driver has only had their license for two years or less, could even lose their driving privileges altogether.
It appears that the ease of paying with a cell phone is outweighed by the potential cost of the "illegal" activity. Even so, most fast-food restaurants in the United Kingdom don't even offer mobile pay for motorist customers since it's not allowed anyways.
6 Cursing At Other Drivers
Aggressive drivers beware! For those on the motorways with a short temper, expressing your anger/disdain to another driver could get you into serious trouble in Britain. According to U.K. law, cussing at another driver falls into the same category as 'disorderly behavior' or 'breach of peace.'
An infraction could cost a lot and not just a one time fee, but multiple weekly payments deducted by the government and points against their license. Getting caught doing this would surely cause the motorist in question to curse again, albeit for a different reason.
5 Unsecured Animals In The Car
For those who enjoy having their furry companion near them during long car rides, they going to have to put them aside and in a secured place or be charged £5000. Along with this exorbitant cost, drivers could have as much as nine points levied against their license too.
This law is very similar to the "No Cradling Babies" law, just extended to animals as well. The argument is that they can be a distraction, but, regardless, some think this policy shows how overreaching the laws are in the U.K. are (or can be).
4 No Honking
For Americans who live in large cities or populated urban environments, the concept of 'no honking' seems absurd and borderline impossible. However, the United Kingdom has done exactly that. According to the British Highway Code, motorist who use their horn "aggressively" or "in stationary traffic... without reasonable intent" can be ticketed for £1000.
Should this law be implemented state-side, just about half of the drivers in places like New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia would surely lose a large portion of their income on a weekly basis.
This rule leads one to ask: "What's the point in even having a horn?"
3 Driving Too Slow
Driving too slowly on the road can get U.K. drivers into some trouble. The explanation behind this law is that when one motorist holds up traffic, it frustrates other drivers and may cause them to act inappropriately or different than they otherwise would have.
Some view this policy as a dream come true (Especially drivers in places with a large population of elderly individuals) while others see it as harsh. The opinion on what is right or wrong is a subjective one to be sure, but the best option is to simply adhere to the speed limit.
2 Sleeping In The Car Whilst Intxoicated
This law seems to be somewhat counter-intuitive to safe driving, although it exists anyways. In the U.K., anyone who decides to sleep in their car rather than drive under the influence or call a taxi could get 10 points on their license or more. Along with the points is an undefined ticket, meaning it could be as much as the government sees fit.
One thing to mention is that the U.K. is not alone in this decision, with some states adopting the practice like California and Nebraska. Again though, it seems to be harsh for choosing to ticket and convict someone who was just trying to do what they believed was the safest choice.
1 No Warning Drivers Of Speed Traps
Everybody loves a hero, especially one that saves you from a potential ticket at the hands of a lurking cop or hidden speed-trap, yet the United Kingdom disagrees. Using your headlights to 'flash' other vehicles to warn of these things can put you in the exact situation you tried to help others with: A ticket anywhere between £30 to £1000.
The U.K. considers this sort of action to be 'vigilante' in nature and can "willfully obstruct a constable in the execution of his/her duty" according to the Police Act of 1997. What do you think? Are these laws too much or not enough?