Of the hundreds seemingly in existence, these are a dozen of the weirdest.
The modern automobile is an infinitely complicated piece of engineering and at the same time a rolling weapon. Thousands of pounds of metal and glass traveling at speed down the street, and the only thing preventing it from wreaking havoc is the piece of flesh in the driver’s seat, except in the case of vehicles like Teslas, where autonomous functionality aids your safety. But what defines how that bag of meat and bones handles their vehicle? Like anything, there’s an extensive set of rules defining how a motor vehicle should be driven.
The laws that govern driving are, for the most part, there for the safety of all who use the roads – but in some countries, these laws can be truly strange. Here, we take a look at some of the strangest you’ll come across, from countries all across the globe.
The Germans are rather authoritarian in their ways, usually being far stricter and more precise than just about anyone else. Control, for the Germans, is paramount, and they’re often the first to show extreme restraint. But it seems sometimes even Ze Germans let loose a little. According to German law, a motor vehicle is considered a private space. Because of this, you’re allowed to drive your 3 Series, Golf, or any other car for that matter, completely naked – provided, of course, you don’t go waving your jiggly bits around to all and sundry, that’s still indecent exposure.
We’re on American soil for this one, particularly in the state of Arkansas. Suppose you’re out at your favorite sandwich joint and you see your friend across the road, how do you let them know you’re there? Well, typically you’d honk your horn; but if you were to do so after 9 pm near a sandwich or beverage shop in the state of Arkansas you could be fined. We’ve no idea why this is the case, but it's against the law nevertheless.
We're up past the northern border now, where in Ontario, Canada you’re not allowed to race animals on the freeway. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act states in Section 173 that “no person shall race or drive furiously any horse or other animal on a highway.”
So, should you come across a bear or moose running down the side of the freeway, don’t, against all your greatest desires, try and see if you can outrun it, even if you think your Chevy Silverado might give it a good go. If you do, you’ll most certainly be guaranteed a ticket.
You’ve got to wonder who that one guy was that did this in order for it to result in a law being made prohibiting it. And yet, in the state of Nevada, it’s prohibited to ride a camel on the highway. So, residents of the state of Nevada, riding your camel down the Las Vegas strip is OK – and you’ll probably receive numerous honks and waves along the way – but please, for the love of all that is sane, don’t go riding your hump-backed horse on the highway, it's dangerous.
Picture driving cross-country on a road trip with your family; music playing, kids singing, and after a few hours you get a little thirsty. Having a sip of water wouldn’t hurt anyone, right? But in Cyprus, if you wish to drink water, you’ll have to pull over and switch off the ignition. I wonder if that applies to other liquids too, or is it just H2O that’s so dangerous?
France may be famous for wine and Champagne, but their tolerance for driving under the influence is next to zero. Exceeding a blood-alcohol percentage of 0.02% will see you end up in the back of a police cruiser in France. To ensure you don’t mistakenly get behind the wheel above that percentage, a law in France makes it mandatory to carry a Breathalyzer test in your vehicle at all times. Fair enough, we suppose; after all, driving under the influence is a major cause of fatal accidents the world over.
It’s understandable that the visually impaired should be mandated to wear their glasses, for the safety of all those around them. But in Spain, if you have to wear glasses whilst driving, it was law that you should also carry a second pair of glasses at all times. It was rewritten after 1997 and is no longer mandatory, but it is still highly advised.
One-way streets exist to ensure driving occurs in one single direction only. Driving against the flow of traffic can be incredibly dangerous, except in the state of Alabama, where it’s perfectly legal to do so provided you have a lantern lit and hanging from the front of your vehicle. We’re no archaic traffic police, but we assume the same would apply to driving with your headlights on. Please, don’t try this though.
Again, who was the driver that did something so bad it had to be made into a law? Well, in the state of California it’s illegal for a female driver to drive wearing a bathrobe. Should they do so, they run the risk of being ticketed. Is this just the case if you’re wearing ONLY a bathrobe, or would wearing one over your clothes result in the same repercussions? California, you’re weird!
Roads are built for cars, but in Australia, it’s animals that have the right of way. So much so in fact that it’s illegal to herd or direct animals off the road if they’re in your way. Instead, you must pull over, switch off the ignition, and wait for the herd of cows or sheep to move of their own accord. Do so much as wave your arm out the window could result in a fine of 141 Australian Dollars in the state of Victoria.
We’ve all struck the gesture at some point in our lives, and some drivers tend to deserve it, but doing so in Germany would result in five points being docked from your license. Lose another three for any other driving infraction and you’ll have your license suspended. So think before you ‘flip the bird’ in Germany, it could have serious repercussions.
In Germany, where speed limits sometimes don't exist, it’s illegal to run out of gas on the highway. As if running out of gas isn’t bad enough, you’d be ticketed as well, making your bad day worse. It’s not just in Germany though as in Youngstown, Ohio, it’s also illegal to run out of gas, though here the law applies to any public street, not just highways.