See if you can tell which are legit.
It’s a big world out there, and if you’re planning to see it by automobile, it’s worth remembering that things can get pretty weird on the roads—especially when it comes to driving laws.
For example: Because of London’s, taxi drivers were legally required to carry a bale of hay in their carriages at all times, so that they could feed their horses quickly without typing up traffic. Which made sense—once. What didn’t make as much sense was the fact that the law didn’t get struck from the books.
Here are nine of the strangest driving laws from the United States and around the world, as well as four we blatantly made up. Can you tell which is which?
If you’re driving in Thailand, you better be wearing a shirt, lest you receive a fine of 500 Thai baht (approximately $15).
“In Thailand, good manners dictate that drivers dress modestly,” explains Deputy Superintendent Jumroon Plaiduang of the Chalong Police. “In the case of baring your chest in your car, what was your intention? That is a question you might want to ask yourself.”
In Little Rock, Arkansas, a 1920s-era law still on the books says that after 9pm, you can’t honk your horn “at any place where cold drinks and/or sandwiches are served.”
Back then, drive-in restaurants with curbside service were such the rage that motorists would honk to get a carhop’s attention. One can imagine how annoying this would get. So, not only did the law stay on the books, but it was amended in 1961 to add the 9pm ordinance—revised from 11pm.
In 1967, Great Britan outlawed bumper stickers on cars, because they might disrupt drivers’ view and/or “foster ill will towards fellow motorists and disruption of harmony,” explained an official from the Ministry of Transport who was surprisingly ahead of his time.
In Japan, if you’re driving around on a rainy day and you splash water on a pedestrian, your little nuisance will result in a fine. This neatly eliminates the opening scenes of most ‘90s romantic comedies.
In the 1970s, tomb robbing became a massive problem in Egypt, facilitated by the boom of cheap transportation. Even to this day, if you’re pulled over in the country, an officer can search your car for ancient artifacts, leading to heavy fines or arrest, regardless if they’re cursed or not.
They take the word “driver” literally in South Africa: Anyone who’s herding animals is considered to be driving a vehicle. Oh, and they also get the right of way. After all, who would want to tussle with a pack of water buffalo?
When SUVs took off in popularity in the early ‘90s, officials in Naples feared that their size would damage the narrow alleyways and historic buildings. So in 1996, the city government instituted an ordinance banning vehicles wider than 178 centimeters—or the width of a Ford Explorer.
In the pastoral state of Maine, it’s illegal to shoot a firearm from inside a car. Sorry, hunters who don’t feel like getting out of their cars’ heated seats to nail a buck with a crossbow (yes, they’re included). You’re allowed to shoot from an ATV or a snowmobile, however, but make sure the engine is off first.
In Quebec, it’s illegal to drive with a cat on the dashboard, thanks to a 1983 highway accident when a tabby swiped at a driver’s turn signal, causing them to lose control of the steering wheel. The resulting accident caused an 8-car pile-up. The cat, whose name was Coquette, survived.
In Switzerland, the local populace still takes the idea of Sunday as a day of rest very seriously: no mowing the lawn, and no carpentry that might disrupt the peace and quiet emanating across the Alps.
The prohibitions also include washing your car on a Sunday. And if you do wash your car, no matter what day of the week it is, you may not use a power washer.
In some parts of Siberia, it’s illegal to drive a tractor below 20mph. Because most of these tractors are exposed to the elements, the law is meant to get drivers home quickly— and protect them from things like catching frostbite.
This has led to a culture of tractor modding, where speed-addicted farmers tune their tractors with bigger turbochargers and aerodynamics and occasionally race each other. Officials there turn a blind eye to the illegal tractor street racing.