Stranger than fiction: weird driving laws around the world

Winding skid marks on a straight roadTraffic laws are meant to keep you from harm’s way and ensure an orderly society. But in your travels you may discover some laws that simply leave you scratching your head. From restricting your right to allow a gorilla to ride in your backseat while cruising the Massachusetts countryside to facing a hefty fine for not properly stopping for animal herders in South Africa, there are laws on the books around the world that can simply leave you in a jam.

It’s important to know that although car insurance is required in most industrialized countries, it’s not the norm everywhere; for instance in Bolivia many people protect themselves by having their car blessed by a priest. However, with all kinds of driving maneuvers affected by these laws, you want to be sure to search a car insurance comparison site and make sure you’re properly covered wherever you go.

Abnormal in Australia

Drivers in Melbourne, Australia, better be ready for the hook turn, which is mandatory at some intersections. According to Travel and Leisure, drivers are expected to make a right turn by entering the intersection in the far left lane, then making a hard right to complete the turn, cutting across the whole intersection. The hook turn is mandatory at several intersections in Melbourne’s business district, and was originally designed to make way for tramcars.

According to DriverAbroad, it is also illegal to leave your keys in the ignition in Australia, stemming from road regulations enacted in 1999, whether or not you trust your mates won’t go for a joyride. If you are a taxicab driver in Australia, you will be well-prepared for any livestock encounters. Cab drivers are required to carry a bale of hay in their trunk, according to DumbLaws.

Unusual U.S.

But Australia isn’t the only country that can lay claim to crazy rules of the road. The U.S. has some bizarre driving laws on the books as well, as evidenced by For instance, just to be sure there was absolutely no doubt about it, officials in Dublin, Georgia, have made it illegal to drive through playgrounds. Those tricksters who think they can get away with it by bringing the playground to drivers aren’t off the hook, however. In Reno, Nevada, it is illegal to place a park bench in the middle of the road. Likewise killing that park-like atmosphere, it is illegal for residents of Blairstown, N.J., to plant trees in the middle of the street.

The world is a crazy place

Some laws are apparently deemed so worthy, they are adopted across continents. It is required that you have windshield wipers on your vehicle in both Luxembourg and Alabama, USA. A windshield, however, is entirely optional in both locales.

In Japan, drivers can expect to be penalized if they don’t take care following a rainstorm. Splash a pedestrian with rainwater while passing by and you can expect a fine of about $65, notes Travel and Leisure.

No matter that the heat can get unbearable in Thailand — it’s no excuse to go around half nude behind the wheel. In Thailand, it is illegal to drive without a shirt on.

Russia is doing all it can to keep its streets clean. Driving a dirty car there is illegal, according to a little-known decree tucked away among driving laws.

What crazy driving laws have you encountered? Please share in the comments!

This entry was posted in Facts & Figures and tagged , by Tanya. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tanya

Tanya is the project manager for Pic4Pass, with over 16 years experience in project management, customer service and marketing for high tech companies. An avid traveler who grew up in a bilingual German-American household, several years ago she, her husband and cat left the US for a chance to work in Austria. She enjoys traveling throughout Europe as well as exploring her adopted home town of Vienna. And she loves living without a car or TV.

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