There are many practical laws for the road that make sense. Seat belt laws ensure drivers and passengers are safe. Distracted Driving laws ensure drivers are focused on the road for the safety of everyone in and out of car, both on the streets and highways. Speed Limit laws ensure drivers do not accelerate their vehicle to a velocity that may be hazardous to other vehicles and pedestrians. Traffic light/sign laws ensure an orderly and safe means of managing right of way for the safety and fairness of everyone.
Sometimes, though, local and regional governments established laws that require more understanding and/or context to comprehend their importance along with the legitimacy of their purpose. Others are just plain crazy.
It’s important to understand that what’s safe and reasonable in one community maybe a hazard elsewhere.
In this blog we’ll look some the more interesting road laws in different communities. From California to the rest of the United States to the world at large – traffic law can manifest in the most usual terms. Here are some examples:
Have gun with travel, but don’t fire your gun while traveling! It’s against the law to hunt while in a moving vehicle. It makes sense but California felt it needed to take it a step further by making it an official law.
But there is an exception. You are allowed in California to hunt whales while driving. In the unlikely event that you find yourself seeking to bag a Blue Whale, feel free to drive the California Coastline from Santa Cruz to Redondo Beach. Keep in mind, though, that whaling itself has been illegal since 1971.
Women should always remember to keep a sweater handy if they’re going for a drive because it is illegal in California for a woman to drive in a motor vehicle while wearing a housecoat—more commonly known as a nighty. This could be a very expensive faux pas as the fine is hefty if enforced.
While it may not affect anyone’s safety, one must consider how it would look in public to be seen with a nighty on. It is important to consider one’s mental distress as much as their physical distress. Sweaters and other garments are warmer regardless and, of course, usually more fashionable driving attire.
Personal safety in a vehicle is very important in California, which is why the state has made it illegal for anyone to jump out of a moving vehicle that is at or is exceeding 65 mph. Common sense would usually be sufficient for most when considering departing from a moving vehicle abruptly; however, again California felt it necessary to take it to the next level—at least beyond 64 mph in this case.
You may find a citation next to your hospital bed beside the get-well flowers, if you felt compel to challenge this law.
The Greater United States
Many States in the U.S. have laws for pet owners to follow, mostly for public and pet safety—but vehicle safety? In Fort Thomas, Kentucky it’s against the law for your dog to molest vehicles. This law can be seen as a defense of public decency; however, there may be some car owners in the state who have concerns over dog behavior towards their transportation.
Although having an affectionate dog is never discouraged anywhere, in Fort Thomas they feel that dogs should only have platonic relationships with cars.
The people of Little Rock, Arkansas take late night dining seriously, especially if it’s a delicatessen, that’s why it’s against the law to honk near a sandwich stand after 9 p.m. If you have a late night crazy desire for hot pastrami with swizz, you’re protected in Little Rock from boorish motorist.
In Rockville, Maryland they’re serious about poopy language as being unacceptable, which is why it is against the law to “profanely curse and swear or use obscene language upon or near any street, sidewalk or highway within the hearing of persons passing by, upon or along such street, sidewalk or highway.” It is a best practice to roll up your window and curse under your breath lest being reported by the listening pedestrians.
Most of the public would not need a law to restrict their decision making in this case. But in Oregon they spell it out when they made it against the law to transport a child/adolescent on the exterior of their car, whether “upon the hood, fender, running board or other external part of any motor vehicle that is upon the highway.” Generally, most family vehicles are in the form of a van, SUV, or large car in which room for passengers would not be an issue. None the less, this appears to be a plausible concern in Oregon—or a happenstance.
Distracted Drive is a concern for public safety around the world and many laws restrict distracted driving behavior for the sake of everyone’s well-being. In Cyprus, they mean business: eating and/or drinking (water or other beverage) is illegal. Don’t bother getting take-out if you are behind the wheel. Get a sit down meal or face a €85 fine. Seat beverage holders are strictly for loose change.
Appearances are everything in Russian that’s why it’s a 2,000 ruble fine for having a dirty car. This makes car washes seem extra cheap in consideration.
Germany’s Autobahn is for serious drivers—that is why it is illegal to stop unnecessarily. That even means running out of gas. Driving your car till its dry? You’re busted. Face a possible fine from German law enforcement.
Sweden has times of the year when sunlight is very infrequent, which is why it is against law to not have your headlights on at all times. Keep in mind that there are also times of the year when it is always daylight hours, so expect to run your vehicle with headlights on during all hours indefinitely.
Curious About More Odd Road Laws?
Check out these links for more curious trivia on bizarre traffic laws: