Any time you’re driving around on vacation you’ll wind up seeing things that you may find odd, but are completely normal to the locals. But some of the driving laws you hear about in other points of the world will just make you shake your head.
1. Don’t ride dirty in Russia
Some have a firm belief that cleanliness is next to godliness. The good folks of Russia take that adage to the extreme when it comes to their cars. If you get caught with a dirty car you can be fined up to 2,000 rubles.
2. Keep your shirt while driving in Thailand
So you rented a convertible and want to get some sun while driving with the top down. No problem at all. Just make sure you keep your shirt on if you’re doing so in Thailand. Cops there can (and will) cite you for topless driving. The fine? A couple hundred baht, which comes out to about $10.
3. No booze on your breath in France
While it’s a no-brainer not to drink and drive at any time, the French wanted to make sure there was little to no doubt about it. Drivers were required to carry a breathalyzer kit in their cars in France to check Blood Alcohol Content at the drop of a hat. That included anyone that brought their cars into the country as well. The only problem about the law was stores couldn’t keep up with the demand for them, so the law has been suspended indefinitely.
4. Stay full on the German Autobahn
What driver hasn’t dreamt about speeding along the famed Autobahn in Germany? What we don’t dream about while driving that sacred stretch of highway is running out of gas. It turns out that it’s against the law to stop unnecessarily, which includes running out of gas, on the Autobahn. Could you imagine trying to walk on that road? Now picture Frogger trying to get across? Never stood a chance, poor frog.
5. Keep your headlights on in Sweden
Sweden has given us a lot of cool stuff – Stieg Larsson, ABBA, Volvo, and IKEA. They’ve also given us a law (it’s followed in much of Scandinavia) where you have to keep your car’s headlights on at all times while driving. That also includes June, which sees some parts of the nation have sunlight all day long.
6. Don’t think about driving blindfolded Alabama
This is one law where we’d love to find out why it became a law in the first place. You can drive through Alabama with no problems. That is until you try putting a blindfold on and getting behind the wheel. Still, it’s probably safer than letting a cat drive you around.
7. Want to bribe a South Korean cop? They’ll have to report you
We’ve all seen cops getting bribed on shows and in movies, but it was an epidemic in South Korea. It was so bad that traffic cops now have to report any time they’ve been offered a bribe by drivers. The law has improved the public image of the police force, so that’s not so bad.
8. Be sure not to splash in Japan
Driving through the rain isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You have to drive a little slower and pay more attention to your surroundings… especially around people walking on a sidewalk next to a huge puddle of water. Aside from the lousy feeling you get from soaking an innocent pedestrian, you can get hit with a big fine if you do such a thing in Japan.
9. Let the animals pass in South Africa
There’s a lot of natural beauty in South Africa. And some of that natural beauty gets the right of way when you’re driving. Animal herders have the right of way when they’re taking their goats, sheep, and anything else you herd from one side of the road to the other. Herders do have to follow some laws of their own though. They have to herd warning 150 meters ahead and behind their actual group. And depending on the time of day they’ll need use either a red flag or red light to signal motorists that they’re there.
10. Mind your manners while driving in Cyprus
Cyprus is a gorgeous place to visit. Not so much fun for those that need instant release from a rough situation behind the wheel. Drivers in Cyprus can face fines if they take their hands off the wheel unnecessarily. This goes against everything we’ve learned from years of driving in rush hour traffic. Flipping people off and shaking our fists at bad drivers (remember that all drivers, except you, are bad). It’s therapeutic, but we’ll have to make sure we don’t draw the ire of Cypriot police.