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Weird road rules from around the world

If you haven’t seen your wife smile at a traffic cop, you haven’t seen her smile her prettiest.” – Kin Hubbard.

The world is full of strange rules and laws, with those enforced around the road proving to be the some of the oddest of all! While some drivers may receive a fine for driving too fast, or not wearing a seatbelt, they can be glad that these weird regulations exist in only certain locations across the world.

Knocking back a beer while driving

While we definitely do not recommend drivers get behind the wheel of a vehicle with a beer, it is 100% legal to drink an alcoholic beverage whilst navigating the often unruly streets of Costa Rica. Recently stricter laws have come into effect, so those driving with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.75 percent risk the full extent of the law. Drunk driving infractions in Costa Rica were reduced by 50% in 2010, the law’s first year of effect.

Costa Rica

We might stick to water when navigating those mountain roads.

Women cannot drive

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that doesn’t allow women to get behind the wheel. Although this rule is in place, many attempts have been made to allow women drivers. Since they cannot drive, Saudi Arabian families are paying a massive $3.7 billion a year to chauffeurs.

Stopping for animals

South Africa is said to have only one car for every five citizens but nonetheless, a law in place states that “the driver of a vehicle on a public road shall stop such vehicle at the request or on the signal of a person leading or driving any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig, or ostrich on such road.” Fines can run quite high for anyone who doesn’t yield appropriately. We just hope there aren’t too many stampedes on the roads!

Ostriches

Not the kind of stampede we were thinking of…

Passing funeral processions

In 23 US states they have specific laws to make it illegal for drivers to pass a funeral procession. Nevada is the only state which specifically allows the lead or escort vehicle in a funeral procession to go through a red light.

Tying your pet dog to the roof of your car

You cannot tie your pet dog to the roof of a car in Anchorage, Alaska. Although many would see this as common sense, we wonder what exactly may have happened for this law to be set in place.

Dog

Car keys, check! Licence, check! Fido…?

Be sure to remember your glasses

Anyone requiring prescription glasses in order to drive the roads of Spain must keep a spare set in their car at all times, just in case one set ends up missing or a lens falls out. This law is a nation-wide ordinance, and is left to the police officer to decide as to whether the driver deserves a ticket or not.

Stopping in China

Although not a proper law, drivers in China and particular Beijing, will be un-inclined to give pedestrians any room on the roads. Given the relatively recent introduction of a law technically requiring motorists to stop at a red light, it is not surprising that drivers often disregard traffic lights and proceed on red. New “self-service” traffic lights in Beijing have given pedestrians easy access across the road—just push a button, wait, and go when the light changes. Unfortunately drivers still may not adhere to the rules and may drive through even when people are crossing.

China

This isn’t life in the fast lane, it’s life in the oncoming traffic.

Keeping safe on the Autobahn

When cruising the Autobahn, it is highly illegal to stop on the high-speed freeway for anything other than an emergency. Running out of fuel is also considered entirely inappropriate, as this is considered driver negligence, and drivers are likely to face a very sizable charge for endangering themselves and others due to their oversight. Those who have driven in Germany know that the Autobahn has no speed limit, so be sure to keep an eye on the fuel gauge when driving.

Hands on the wheel

In Cyprus drivers who unnecessarily raise a hand from the steering wheel can face some serious fines. Accidents have become so frequent on the Mediterranean island in recent years that it is now even illegal to eat or drink anything while driving.

Eating at the wheel

Probably not the best time to show off your awesome multi-tasking skills.

Under the influence

Of course, drinking and driving is illegal but in Macedonia, the authorities go even further: if you’re ‘visibly under the influence of alcohol’, you are not allowed to sit in the front seat, presumably not just because you’ll be terrible at directions.

Staying covered up

Make sure you keep your shirt on as travelling topless in Thailand is a strictly forbidden. This applies to men as well as women, and all motorists, whether it’s bike, car or tuk-tuk, have to obey. If you can’t stand the heat you’ll be slapped with a small fine.

Thailand

Despite the heat, it’s probably best to keep your layers on.

Don’t drive while blindfolded

In Alabama it’s illegal to drive while being blindfolded. All we can think is that somewhere, at some point in Alabama ‘s history, somebody tried to operate a vehicle while blindfolded.

Pets sitting on your lap

Although most states in the USA allow drivers to have pets sitting on your lap, Hawaii and New Jersey outlaw your furry friend from riding shotgun. Another myth believed by many people is that gorillas are not allowed to travel in the back seats of cars in Massachusetts. Although this law seems laughable, it is unfortunately not true, with the urban legend still commonly popular.

Gorilla

We’d like to imagine this is how it went down.

Clean me

In some countries godliness is next to cleanliness – and police impose fines on anyone with a dirty car. On-the-spot fines can be issued in Belarus, Romania and Russia for driving a dirty car. There’s no proper definition for what counts as “dirty” so it’s up to the officer’s discretion, so it’s best to keep your car looking tip-top to avoid a penalty.

License plates in Manila

In Manila, people can’t drive in certain areas based upon what day of the week it is and the last digit on their license plate. If a car’s plate ends with a 1 or a 2, the driver can be fined if caught driving in congested areas during certain times. This is also true in certain areas of Paris, but due to typhoons and seasonal flooding, Manila is far more strict.

Think before you drink

Be sure to think before having that glass of Champagne before hopping in your vehicle. Drivers in France are required by law to carry an unused breathalyzer kit in their vehicle at all times. This is to help prevent drunk driving while cutting down on government costs incurred during traffic stops.

Breathalyser

And if you’d like to have a few, a taxi is the better option.

Don’t splash the pedestrians

In the very-polite Japan, drivers can be fined for splashing water on a pedestrian. Maybe some drivers will think twice before racing through puddles.

Stay safe on those roads and if you’re looking for a vehicle on your next holiday, visit our website or call 0800 358 1229 to find car or campervan hire at over 20,000 locations around the world.

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