A few weeks back, and not a million miles from our garage, a driver did something very strange in his Volkswagen Passat. He used it to transport a cow.
Well, more accurately, it was a calf, but The Times didn’t let that stand in the way of a good headline. Understandably, the RSPCA weren’t happy, but at the time of writing, it’s unclear whether the driver had actually broken any laws. Nevertheless, that got us thinking about what bizarre driving laws there might be from around the world. So we started to research…
Funny-but-true or urban myth?
OK, maybe we’re just born party-poopers, because as we started compiling our list, we couldn’t help doing a bit of fact-checking. It turns out that a fair proportion of weird driving laws are just, er, made up. Sorry.
Take this one for example, which is on loads of sites:
In Alabama it’s illegal to drive while being blindfolded.
Those Americans, eh? Some sites even quote the relevant section of Alabama law, so it must be true, right? Nope. Here’s the relevant section from Alabama’s legal code:
Obstruction to driver’s view or driving mechanism.
(a) No person shall drive a vehicle when it is loaded, or when there are in the front seat such a number of persons as to obstruct the view of the driver to the front or sides of the vehicle or as to interfere with the driver’s control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle.
(b) No passenger in a vehicle shall ride in such position as to interfere with the driver’s view ahead or to the sides, or to interfere with his control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle.
To think this has anything to do with blindfolds, you’d have to be wearing one. Or drunk. Or both.
It’s the same story with this too-good-to-be-true beauty:
It’s illegal in Massachusetts to operate a car with a gorilla in the backseat.
Wouldn’t it be great if some oddball had put this on the statute books and it had just stayed there? But a bit of checking shows it’s another urban myth.
On the other hand, this one also looks too silly to be real:
In Chillicoe City, Missouri, it’s illegal to honk the horn of someone else’s car.
Actually, this one’s genuine! So it turns out that lists like these tend to be a mixture of funny-but-true and fake news. In our collection below, we’ll leave you to make up your own mind.
Finally, odd driving laws from around the world
- In Switzerland, it’s illegal to wash your car on a Sunday. Well, in that case, we don’t envy the Swiss. What else are you supposed to do on a Sunday? Maybe it’s something to do with the risk of avalanches. Or Toblerone.
- Drivers in Denmark must check underneath the car for children. We think this should be introduced in the UK. It doesn’t seem too much to ask. Just do it at the same time you check your tyres.
- In Moscow, it’s illegal to drive a dirty vehicle, and can result in an on-the-spot fine. We can’t see what’s wrong with the British system, where police officers are entitled to leave messages in the dirt such as ‘CLEAN ME’ and ‘I WISH MY WIFE WAS AS DIRTY AS THIS VAN!’
- In Spain and Switzerland, drivers who wear glasses must carry a spare pair. Obviously, this is in case you’ve made a fashion faux-pas that may distract other drivers.
- In Alaska, it’s illegal to tie a dog to the roof of your vehicle. We so want this to be true, but it probably isn’t.
- In the UK, it’s illegal to deliberately splash pedestrians. Once a national sport, this practice is today punishable by a fine of up to £5000. Plus the victim gets to push the driver into a duck pond.*
*OK, we made this bit up. But it is illegal.
Here’s one thing that’s definitely not an urban myth: you really can get main dealer levels of services, without paying their prices. Welsh VW Specialists offer the highest standard of work (including servicing, repairs and MOTs) at real-world prices. To find out more, or book yourself in, get in touch.