Weird driving laws from around the world

One of the first things that you need to get to grips with when you start to learn to drive is the rules of the road. Failure to comply can not only land you a fine but the possibility of points on your licence. Racking these points up can not only result in higher prices for car insurance but can also cause you to lose your right to drive for a minimum of six months. Although in the UK, our road laws are fairly straightforward, with road users aware of how their car needs to be maintained and what speed limits they need to stick to, this isn’t always the case for other countries.

USA

USA road at night

Laws in the USA vary from state to state, meaning that there are a plethora of unusual driving laws for residents to abide by. In fact, in some states, such as California, there are a couple of different rules which could cause some potential confusion for motorists, such as it being illegal to jump from a car travelling 65 mph and women being forced to pay a fine if they are seen driving in a dressing gown.

Of course, California isn’t the only state enforcing these strange rules. Kris from Man Wants shares his favourite bizarre driving law in the USA: “Not being able to drive with a blindfold in Alabama. It makes me laugh that they had to make a law for that – it suggests people have been trying it!” In Missouri, it is illegal to sit in the middle of the street whilst reading a newspaper and in Nebraska, it is essential for those driving to pay caution when travelling on mountains – of which there are none in the state!

Germany

Germany at night

In Germany, handling any mode of transport when inebriated is frowned upon – including cycling. If caught drunk whilst peddling through the streets, you could be forced to take a medical-psychologist evaluation, as well as be made to give up your licence.

Throughout the country, autobahns make for quick travelling. With no speed limit, they allow you to get from A to B in an efficient manner. However, it is essential that before you travel on this highway that you fill up before the journey as it is considered illegal to stop along this road, including if you have run out of petrol. Those who find themselves in this unfortunate situation are given a ticket, as it is considered to be an act of negligence.

Thailand

Thailand taxi

Despite it being a favourite place for British travellers, there are a number of rules that people in Thailand must stick to, including when it comes to driving. Travelling by motorbike is one of the preferred modes of transport and although it should seem like common sense to wear a helmet, people are still often reprimanded on the streets for travelling without one. If you’re caught, this is an on the spot fine which can vary in price. However, driving without a helmet isn’t the only thing that is illegal for drivers. If you’re found to be behind the wheel of a car without a top on, you can also be presented with a fine. Although this is typically smaller, it is still worthwhile to keep your clothes on!

Spain

Spain roundabout at night

Much like Thailand, Spain is also critical of what a driver is wearing. You could be faced with a fine of €200 if you’re driving without a shirt on. Similarly, being barefoot or wearing inappropriate shoes such as flipflops also results in a fine, as it is said to have the ability to diminish the driver’s capacity to control the car.

Whilst navigating the roads in Spain, it is essential that the driver’s full attention is on the road, and any signs that you may be distracted can result in a fine. This includes driving with one hand out of the window, as it is seen to be compromising your position. Additionally, if you are arguing, kissing a passenger or making gestures at other drivers, an €80 fine could be awarded to you.

Manilla

Manilla at Sunset

One of the most bizarre traffic rules comes from Manilla. The Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program has colour coded number plates, preventing access to certain areas in Metro Manilla on particular days. This was first introduced to this area during the 90s but has now been spread to other areas. Although this was conceived to lower congestion, it has caused confusion amongst those in the country, especially considering that there are variations of this rule in each city.

The UK

London cityscape

“Apparently it’s illegal to make a profit from giving somebody a lift. I guess we should be careful when asking for fuel money!” shares Kris. If you are caught exchanging lifts for a price, you could be faced with a fine of up to £2,500, as it could be seen that you are operating as an unregistered taxi service. Additionally, if you are also receiving money, it could invalidate your insurance, something which is essential to keep in mind.

Whilst driving your vehicle, including a new Ford car, you can be prosecuted for giving lifts. However, taxi drivers have their own laws that they need to abide to. According to Sixt, a rental car provider, “the most outrageous driving law in the UK to exist was one that applied only to Hackney carriages: all Hackney taxis must carry a bale of hay and bag of oats in their vehicle!” Although this law was removed in 1976, it is believed that the requirement dated back to the 1800s, when taxis would be composed of horse and carriage. The need for hay and oats would be to ensure that horses would have a food source on hand, just in case!