If navigating a strange city is a daunting task, then driving in a different country is a complete pain in the ass. Strange road signs, speedometers that only work in kilometers, and steering wheel alignments that require you to shift with your left hand all stack up to throw you for a loop at a moment’s notice. And then there are the traffic laws, which can be just as twisted and confusing as the roadways themselves.
Last year, The Huffington Post did a brief report on some of the most bizarre driving laws from around the world, and while we found this list to be both surprising and amusing, we couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. So to give readers a better grasp as to how wacky things really are out there, we decided to find some even weirder laws that we could add to the list.
After a bit of digging, we turned up a handful of winners we had never heard of before — many of them came to us courtesy of the Autos section of Yahoo and the U.K. division of AOL, which also had some interesting entries. All of this information gave us pause as we wondered how in the hell any of these laws actually came to pass, because we know that at some point some jackass thought it would be a good idea to tie his goat to the luggage rack before heading into town.
But we don’t just want to focus on the extreme; we want to highlight the weird as well, because those are the laws that are more likely to affect the rest of us. So in order to offer a more streamlined cheat sheet, we have opted to break this list down by country of origin. Drive safe!
We begin our list with a simple but very strictly enforced law from Thailand. According to Yahoo, this popular Asian destination requires drivers (male or female) to keep their shirts on, regardless of how hot it is or what kind of car, bus, or “tuk-tuk cab” they may be driving. All we want to know is: If we aren’t driving, can we pull off our shirt and work on our tan?
2. South Africa
While South Africa only has one car for every five citizens, it still feels that it needs to have some laws in place to protect its livestock. Yahoo says it has a law in place stating “the driver of a vehicle on a public road shall stop such vehicle at the request or on the signal of a person leading or driving any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig, or ostrich on such road.” Fines can run up to $500 for anyone who doesn’t yield appropriately.
Yahoo continued to surprise us with bizarre driving laws when we discovered that splashing a pedestrian with water while driving is illegal in Japan. Apparently, enforcement of this law goes up during the month of June, when typhoons tend to leave a lot of standing water on roadways. Another bizarre law allows anyone in a vehicle who is of the legal age to drink to consume alcohol just as long as the driver doesn’t partake.
The travel section of AOL says that in Manila, people can’t drive in some areas due to the day of the week and the last digit on a license plate. If a car’s plate ends with a 1 or a 2, the driver can be fined if caught driving in congested areas during certain times of the week. This is also true in certain areas of Paris, but due to typhoon-influenced seasonal flooding, Manila is far more strict about these safety-based regulations.
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5. United States
Yeah, we’ve got some weird driving laws, too, apparently. Yahoo Autos says that in Montana, it’s illegal to have sheep in the cab of a truck unless there is a chaperone, and in Alabama, it’s illegal for people to drive while blindfolded because, well, it’s dangerous and stupid. New Jersey also has a strange law where residents are required by law to honk prior to passing, which would confuse the hell out of us as we wouldn’t know if someone wants to pass us, say hello, or warn us of dangers on the road.
Yahoo says driving a filthy car can get you fined up to $55 regardless of whether the car is dirty on the outside or inside. Originally put in place to keep license plates visible during icy months, when salt and grime are prone to caking onto a plate, this law has proven to be problematic for certain motorists, since it is also illegal to clean your car anywhere outside of your home or a car wash.
The Huffington Post reports that when cruising the Autobahn, it is highly illegal to stop on the high-speed freeway for anything other than an emergency. Apparently running out of fuel is also considered completely inappropriate, as this is considered driver negligence, and drivers are likely to face a very sizable charge for endangering themselves and others due to their oversight.
Anyone needing vision-correcting glasses in order to drive must keep a spare set in their car at all times just in case one set ends up missing. According to a report by The Huffington Post this law is a nation-wide law, and is up to the discretion of the police officer if the driver deserves a ticket or not.
A report by AOL says that all drivers in France are now required to carry an unused breathalyzer kit in their vehicle at all times. Apparently, this is to help prevent drunk driving while cutting down on government costs incurred during a traffic stop.
Our final country on this cheat sheet is brought to you courtesy of the tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where, according to AOL, drivers who unnecessarily raise a hand from the steering wheel can face some serious fines. Accidents have become so frequent in recent years that it is now even illegal to eat or drink while driving around the island.