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12 of the world's weirdest driving laws

calendar Published on: Friday, 7th September 2018 | female icon Author: Aminta Gagnon

There are some rules of the road that are more or less universal, whether itís keeping within the speed limits or obeying road signs. However, some laws might take you by surprise. From driving with a dirty car to leaving your headlights on during the day, there are some truly bizarre road regulations in different countries around the globe. Here are 12 of the worldís weirdest driving laws.

1. Running out of petrol

If youíve ever driven in Germany, youíre probably aware of the unrestricted speed limits on the autobahns. However, did you know that itís against the law to run out of petrol or stop unnecessarily on these high speed roads? Having an empty tank is not considered an emergency but rather negligence on the driverís part, and could see you having to fork out for a fine. So if you find yourself driving in Germany, remember to always top up your fuel before hitting the road.

2. Sat navs that detect speed cameras

In France, sat navs that detect the location of speed cameras are illegal. If you are caught using this type of device while driving, you could have your licence confiscated or even your vehicle impounded by the police. Even if you donít use it, itís always worth checking and deactivating the speed camera function on your sat nav before driving in France.

3. Checking for children underneath your car

Youíre probably used to doing some sort of routine checks before driving, whether itís looking at your blind spots or making sure everyone is wearing seat belts. However, drivers in Denmark are required to do a rather unusual check before they get behind the wheel. Road safety officials in the country have made it mandatory for motorists to check for children who might be hiding under the car before setting off.

4. Going through a red light

When you see a red light on the road, youíll recognise this as a signal to stop. However, in the USA itís a different story. In all 50 states, drivers are allowed to go through a red light, but only when making a right turn. You must also make sure you come to a stop and check for cars and pedestrians at the junction before turning.

5. Driving with your headlights on

Most of the time, you only need to use your headlights when itís dark or when the weather is poor. However, in Italy drivers are required to have their headlights on and dipped when travelling on a motorway or dual carriageway, even during the day. This is also the case in Sweden, where you must have your headlights on regardless of the time of day or night or you risk getting hit with a fine.

6. Carrying spare glasses

If youíre driving in Spain and wear glasses or contact lenses, youíll need to remember to carry a second set with you at all times. Even if youíre already wearing one pair, itís against the law not to have a spare pair in case you lose them or they break. If youíre stopped by the police and are found without these extras, youíll have to pay a small fee.

7. Driving with a dirty car

In Moscow, itís a good idea to keep your car clean. If your vehicle is dirty, either on the exterior or the interior, you could get penalised. This rule was originally made to make sure that licence plates were easy to see during bad weather, but anyone caught today with a car that isnít pristine is still breaking the law. However, thereís no definition as what counts as dirty - this is up to the police officer to decide. With this in mind, your safest bet is to keep you vehicle spick and span at all times.

8. Animals with a right of way

Animals rule the road in South Africa, or at least they have the same rights as pedestrians and drivers. Itís not uncommon for livestock to be crossing the road in many rural parts of the country, and drivers could face a hefty fine if they fail to slow down or stop. This goes for horses, goats, sheep and ostriches, to name a few.

9. Splashing pedestrians

No one enjoys being drenched by a passing vehicle driving through a puddle. But in Japan, itís actually illegal to splash water or mud on a pedestrian and you could be penalised for doing so. The fines are also more severe during typhoon season when thereís more water on the roads than usual.

10. Driving topless

According to the law in Thailand, itís illegal to drive topless. Whether youíre in a car, bus, bike or tuk tuk, both men and women must keep their tops on while travelling on the road. If you canít cope with the heat and feel the need to remove your shirt, you could receive a ticket.

11. Don't tie dogs to the roof

One of the worldís most absurd rules of the road comes from Alaska. In the 49th state, itís illegal to drive with a dog tied to the roof of your car. Why would anyone do this, you ask? Your guess is as good as ours.

12. Eating in the car

If youíre someone who eats or drinks in your car, you could find yourself in trouble in Cyprus. The law states that a driver must not raise one hand from the wheel unnecessarily and motorists are actually prohibited to eat or drink anything while driving. For those who get road rage, bear in mind that you can also get fined for making an aggressive hand gesture.Even here in the UK, there may be rules of the road that youíre not completely familiar with. Check out our blog post on the 7 deadly sins of driving to see if youíre breaking the law or endangering yourself and others without realising it.


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