As a driver surely enough you’ve thought at least once or twice that a given rule is weird or plainly just gets at you. Yet laws are put in place for a reason and when it comes to driving, the primary goal is to keep everybody on the road safe and sound. Whilst every country in the world has its own distinct rules and regulations, which is to be expected, the core basic rules are always similar across the globe and they all make perfect sense. However, in some places, some weird or rather unique rules can be found as well. So here are the top 10 most unusual driving laws from around the world:
Sleighbells Ringing – Canada
This rule could only exist in Canada, and it is one you have to read to believe, but there is actually a law about the minimum number of bells that are required on a sleigh for it to be allowed on the road in the country. Of course, this rule isn’t going to really bother many people as sleighs aren’t as popular as they might have once been, but for those that have one, it could be an issue. Thankfully, anyone who is looking to hit the road with their sleigh this year need not worry, as the minimum number is only two bells. Who knew that Santa Claus had so many restrictions against him on Christmas?
Drinking and Driving – Costa Rica
For the majority of countries around the world, there is a strict drink drive limit or full ban on any alcohol while behind the wheel, entailing some hefty punishments if ignored, but there is no such law in Costa Rica, where drinking and driving is perfectly legal. Even though the dangers of a driving under the influence are all too real, it appears that Costa Rica hasn’t got the message yet. As long as you do not appear to be too intoxicated (however much that might be), then authorities in Costa Rica won’t be bothering you whilst drinking a beer at the wheel.
Drunk Driving Passengers – Japan
While we’re at it, here’s the opposite extreme. In Japan, it’s also illegal to be a passenger in a car when the driver is drunk. Even if you’re 100 percent sober, you could get into legal trouble for riding along with a drunk driver. That sure is way to make the rule more enforceable!
No Stopping on the Autobahn – Germany
The Autobahn in Germany is one of the most famous roads in the world and it is renowned for its absence of a set speed limit on some sections, which makes it one of the fastest roads in the world as well. However, it does also oblige one weirder regulation also, as it is actually illegal to stop or fix your car while on the Autobahn for any reason other than an emergency. In most countries, regardless of the road size, cars are able to stop for break downs or a lack of fuel, but in Germany that is considered to be driver negligence and can lead to a six-month ban or potentially prison time!
Law Of The Jungle – South Africa
Whilst vehicles pose a credible threat to wildlife all across the world, in South Africa the authorities simply couldn’t afford it due to the incredible wildlife that inhabits the area and calls it their home. It is very common to see animals wandering around on roads near their natural habitats, where humans have encroached and because of that, the animals in the country have a privileged right to the roads then the motorists do. Whilst the animals in the way might not always be a pack of lions, drivers must always stop to allow them their time to move, however long that may take, or else risk a hefty fine.
Lights Always On – Sweden
The actual reasoning behind this quite bizarre requirement is attributed to the short day span for a better half of the year in Sweden, where for about 6 months the northern part of the country lives in total darkness. Hence in Sweden (and several other Nordic European countries), it is actually legally mandatory for drivers to have their headlights on at all times. Meaning drivers are required to have their headlights on even when it is daylight, which makes it quite confusing, albeit less so with the modern daytime running lights, however in the past it was very uncommon and not that beneficial to the cars themselves fitted with halogens at the time.
Going Gorillas – United States
We’re famous for strange road regulations too, given every state can have vastly different laws when it comes to driving, so it is always best to check up on them, especially if you are driving through several states at any point in time. However, the strangest of all the official laws might just come from Massachusetts where the law expressly forbids driving Gorillas in your vehicle, as anyone caught driving with one in the back of the car will receive a ticket. In case you weren’t sure, you’ve just read the law!
Ignoring History – Italy
As a country with one of the richest histories in the world, Italy owes its greatness to its ancestors and is partly why so many people travel to it yearly to visit the incredible sights of its glory. However, sightseeing some of the fantastic architecture might not be possible in a car as many areas of Italy is designated historic zones, known as ZTL zones, which means you cannot drive there without a permit. In order to drive in ZTL zones specific permits are required, limited to local residents only, so as to preserve the area. Such can be found in most popular destinations of Rome, Florence, and Milan.
No Drinking or Eating in the Car – Cyprus
In Cyprus, one specific driving law expressly states that nobody is allowed to eat or drink inside a car at any point. That’s right, at any point, even if the car is parked up and not moving, meaning any fast food snacks during a road trip or while out and about are forbidden. Obviously, irresponsible driving whilst eating and drinking can be dangerous, but the fact that there can never be any eating or drinking in a car regardless of if it is parked or not seems a strange one.
Gas Station Radio Silence – Spain
Most people do enjoy their tracks whilst they driving. Whether it is shuffling or enjoying their playlist, listening to a podcast or just the radio, drivers often have something on in order to keep them occupied as they go about their day. That is the case in Spain as well, except for one very specific place, where it happens to be against the law. That place? Well, it is the gas station of course, where it is against the law to have the music on whilst filling up their car with fuel. It isn’t quite clear why the rule is in place, but a charge of 91 Euros is in place for anyone who is caught singing along to a tune whilst filling up their tank.
Bonus: Splashing Pedestrians – United Kingdom
In the UK it tends to rain, quite often, and because of that, puddles are a common sight, which can cause problems for those wanting to walk on the pavements, as it can lead to them being soaked. While many jurisdictions forbid the splashing of pedestrians, there was a time in the UK when cars would purposefully drive into the puddles when someone was walking on the sidewalk, in order to soak them, especially at bus stops when people were waiting to be picked up. The issue became so severe that the UK government decided to act and adopted the law that punished drivers who are caught doing it by fining them £5,000 with points being placed on their license to boot, which is a serios fine!