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The strangest driving laws from around the world

  • Travel 101
  • By Guy Humphrey
  • Published 13 March 2020
  • Revised 28 February 2024
  • Published 13 March 2020
  • Revised 28 February 2024

Driving in a different country always presents some challenges. Whether it’s driving on the other side of the road, knowing where best to park, understanding road signs or paying tolls, it’s best to research before you visit a new destination. Nations across the world have some peculiar laws regarding driving and we’ve compiled 16 of the craziest. Have we got them all? Let us know on our social media channels if there’s any you would add.

You won’t find these in The Highway Code…

1)    In South Africa, animals rule the road. Drivers must let creatures such as ostriches, elephants and other exotic wildlife cross the road before embarking on the next leg of their journey. Whoever disrespects this will have to pay up to $600 in fine… this brings a whole new meaning to a ‘zebra crossing.’
2)    Due to extreme traffic in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, there are laws which restrict certain cars from driving on set days. For example, if your licence plate ends in 1 or 2, it’s illegal to be on the roads between 7am and 7pm on Monday yet perfectly acceptable every other day of the week.
3)    If you’re driving in residential areas of some Spanish cities, make sure to check which side of the road you park on as you’re only allowed to do so on the side of houses that display even numbers.
4)    In Japan, it’s forbidden to splash a pedestrian with mud or water whether it’s on purpose or not. Due to the typhoon season in Japan that typically occurs between June and October, the number of incidents normally increases.
5)    Driving the wrong way down a one-way street is completely legal in Alabama, if you have a lantern attached to the front of your car! 
6)    Finland hold animals close to their heart, so much so that if you don’t report a driving accident involving a one, you’ll receive a fine. The amount can be quite a lot too as it’s based on your annual income.
7)    If you’re driving in Denmark, one additional check is required by law. Before setting off, you must examine if a sleeping child is underneath your car. You’ll be cautioned if caught not inspecting. 

8)    Unfortunately, you can’t drive a camel on a highway in Nevada. While it may seem like a strange rule, and indeed it is, there are some historical facts to back up how the law came to be. The late 1800s saw camels brought to the area and put to work due to the quick expansion in the building and trade industries. Camels were a popular mode of transportation for Nevada locals, and so the law was put into place and has never been revoked.
9)    Whether you’re driving in Chiang Mai, Bangkok or Hua Hin, it’s prohibited to drive topless in Thailand for both males and females. An on-the-spot fine will be issued if you’re caught.
10)    Be careful when grabbing a quick snack or coffee on the go in Cyprus. Eating or drinking behind the wheel is against the law, and you may receive a hefty fine if a police car goes by. It’s a great excuse to go to a cute local café or indulge in a five-star meal at a gourmet restaurant.
11)    Drinking alcohol and driving is never a good idea, and France has taken optimum measures to ensure this doesn’t happen. Introduced in 2012 to enable drivers to check if they’re below the limit, it’s now a legal requirement to carry a breathalyser in your car.
12)    Pioneers of sustainability, in Switzerland it’s against the law to wash your vehicle with a high-pressure power hose due to the excess water wastage. Eco-friendly drive-in washers are available.
13)    Due to the regulation of food during the Great Depression, in Western Australia it’s an offence to transport more than 50kg of potatoes in your car. Get caught doing so and you could receive a substantial fine of up to $5,000 if you’re a repeat offender.
14)    This next law is more common sense rather than strange. In Alabama, it’s illegal for drivers to wear blindfolds. The reasons as to why are obvious, but the fact that it’s been made into a law creates a range of questions.
15)    Driving a dirty car is considered unlawful in Russia and you’ll pay a weighty fine if you don’t always take pride in keeping your motor sparkling. Even if you think your car is clean, the state of your vehicle is down to the discretion of the police officer.
While some of these laws seem on the strict and weird side, driving in another country be a wonderful addition to your holiday. Here at Winged Boots, we’re experts in creating fantastic holidays which often include car hire and private transfers. If you’re thinking about booking an exotic road trip yet don’t know where to start, we have you covered. Simply submit an enquiry or call one our personal travel managers now on 0203 816 0985.

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