Strange driving laws from around the world

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Dogs on the roof and gorillas in the back seat, where in the world are the weirdest driving laws?

man-using-a-self-breathalyser

When it comes to the rules of the road, in the UK they tend to be quite straightforward and in the most part, reasonable. Things like sticking to a speed limit, not drinking heavily before you get behind the wheel and not using your mobile when you drive, are all fair expectations of a safe driver.

But how does the rest of the world do things? Are they quite so sensible with the law book? Are there things we can learn?

We've done some digging and found the best, worst and downright weird driving laws the world has to offer.

Five laws worth considering

  • In France, drivers are required to carry a self-breathalyser with them in case stopped by police. The €11 fine which was due to come into force has been postponed indefinitely but you are still expected to carry one. Having a constant reminder of the dangers of drink driving may be enough to make you think twice
  • In Germany, you must carry a first-aid kit which is accessible from the driver's seat. Again, if the worst were to happen being prepared is never a bad thing
  • In the Netherlands, it is compulsory to carry a driving licence, car registration papers and insurance documents in the car with you. If you do have a bump it saves time when you need to exchange details, however it might be better to keep a copy rather than the originals (just in case the car is stolen)
  • In the USA you can turn right at a red-light (unless you're in New York city). You've got to stop first, but as long as it's safe it does help to keep the traffic moving
  • In Victoria, Australia, it is an offence to cause a hazard to a person or vehicle by opening a car door or leaving the car door open. Basically you need to make sure you look before you swing the door open to avoid knocking cyclists off their bikes.

Five of the worst laws

  • In China, military vehicles are allowed to move in the wrong direction and don't have stop at red lights. Similarly cars don't have to stop for pedestrians. The best advice we can offer is, don't drive in China if you don't have to
  • Donkeys have right of way on Greek roads. We don't see it catching on in the UK
  • Child car seats are optional in Thailand. That just sounds like a bad plan, particularly as driving in Thailand can be somewhat chaotic
  • In Costa Rica, it's acceptable to drink behind the wheel as long as you stop before you get drunk
  • Germany's version of a motorway, the autobahn, has no speed limit in most parts. While many British motorists would probably support this law, we're not so sure it's a good idea. 2012 saw 387 people killed on the Autobahn compared to 80 people killed on motorways in the UK.

Five of the weirdest laws

  • In Alaska it is illegal to tie a dog to the roof of your car. Huskies everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief
  • In California it is illegal to use a road as a bed, dry your car with used underwear or jump from a car at 65 miles per hour. You have to wonder how often those things happened before the laws were introduced
  • In Massachusetts you will get a ticket if you drive with a gorilla in the back seat of your car. If you have a gorilla in the backseat we imagine a ticket will be the least of your worries
  • In the UK there is still a law in place which requires Hackney carriages to carry a bale of hay and a bag of oats with them at all times. We are pretty sure that one is being overlooked by most cabbies
  • In Denmark you have to check underneath your car before you set off in case anybody is hiding under there. We think it makes more sense to ban people from hiding under cars.

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