Everyone knows that there are tons of terrible drivers out there- it’s just a fact of nature when it comes to driving, as much an accepted part of the road as stop signs and roundabouts (or rotaries, as they’re called some places). It only seems to be getting worse too, what with road rage becoming more dangerous and people becoming more impatient. I mean, who hasn’t been honked at in an intersection recently for not being fast enough at the light change? And please don’t get me started on all of the texting, app playing and other phone-related stuff people are doing nowadays while they drive- haven’t these people ever heard of voice-to-text? Maybe this is why car makers are trying to create safer and safer cars- because they know we are all just a bunch of idiots!
But I digress. Yes, bad drivers are an epidemic. Bad traffic is even worse- who actually enjoys sitting in gridlock in big cities like Chicago or L.A.? No one, that’s for sure. So how do you think the average person feels when they have to sit in gridlock in East Podunk, Tennessee? Not good at all, my friends, not good at all. Because why the hell should anyone ever have to sit in traffic in the middle of nowhere? They shouldn’t but unfortunately the world we live in has too many cars and too many people to ever escape traffic jams again.
All of this, the bad driving and worse traffic, would be maybe barely manageable if our traffic laws and rules of the road always made sense. Unfortunately for all of us, that’s not always the case. There are some really strange, unusual and just downright terrible rules of the road out there. Here are the 15 worst of them.
15. Clean Your Car In Russia…Or Else
Everybody hates a dirty car, inside or out. Well, I suppose there are some who don’t really care. My own wife, for one, likes to accumulate dozens of Dunkin Donuts empties before ever bothering to clean out her car. And farmers probably don’t mind letting their F350s accumulate a little dust and mud. But most of us like to keep our cars relatively clean. Even during a Chicago winter, I like to go through the car wash every few weeks. But can you imagine being legally required to keep your car clean? That’s a rule of the road in Russia, where the cops can pull you over and fine you 2,000 rubles for driving around in a dirty car. That’s about 50 bucks gone for no good reasons. Russia is known for some pretty rough weather so I wonder how often people have to pay to get their car clean and legal. I can’t imagine everyone in Siberia, for one, stands around in their driveways washing their cars on their own. Brrr!
14. Bring Your Own Breathalyzer…In France
So this one is more weird than awful, I suppose. I mean, I think we can all agree, all kidding aside, that drunk driving is a terrible thing and we shouldn’t have to rely upon the cops to hunt down every single drunk driver- that would basically be an impossible task. But in France, everyone is required to carry their own personal breathalyzer in their car. First of all, I know figures of authority in France can be lazy sometimes (a few World Wars showed that) but c’mon Gendarmes! Are you seriously expecting people to police themselves? Like that always works- people would be pulling out their breathalyzers at parties and having fun with them, then forgetting them on the bar top when they drive off home. Second, a quick and dirty Amazon search shows the cheapest, somewhat reliable personal breathalyzers to be well over $100. And if you’re anything like me, you will lose yours, just like you’ve lost your wallet, keys and phone.
13. Saudi Women Are Prohibited From Driving
Why did it come as no surprise to me to find out about this terrible rule of the road in Saudi Arabia; that place has a serious problem with its rules and regulations regarding women- in all areas of life. So it should come as no shock to you either that the Saudis don’t allow women to drive. That’s right; if you are a lady in Saudi Arabia, don’t even think about getting behind the wheel. Apart from the sexist and antiquated culture this awful driving law reveals, it also makes me wonder about practicality and efficiency. How do the ladies get around? Wouldn’t it be easier if they just let everybody drive, not just the men? I don’t know what the punishment for this horrible crime is if a woman actually tried to drive.
12. Keep Your Lights On In Sweden
The Swedes are a tidy race- they like to have everything just exactly perfect. They make some pretty nice cars over there too; both Volvo and Saab are based in Sweden and you can’t get much nicer (or pricier) than some high-end Volvo models. The Swedes are also sticklers for safety, as evinced by their weird and somewhat unnecessary law that you must keep your headlights on at all times. Not just running lights- headlights. I say this strange law is somewhat unnecessary because the Swedes do indeed live in the land of the “Midnight Sun.” There are certain months during wintertime over there that you never see the sun. So I sort of get the whole headlight thing. But the flip side of living with that climate is that in June it never gets dark at all over there- never. So what’s the point of enforcing such a silly law?
11. No Blindfolds In Alabama…Duh
Alright, so this stupid law is in here not because it’s a bad idea- it’s definitely not the worst idea anyone’s ever had to require people to, you know, be able to see when they’re driving. Because in case you hadn’t heard, driving with a blindfold on is a very bad idea indeed. It would be like wielding the world’s biggest, most terrible baseball bat and treating everything around you- other cars, buildings, trees, statues, people- like they were all your personal piñata. The fact that the rule actually exists in Alabama is what floors me. Who the hell did what the hell when to make this odd rule of the road spring into being? It’s a bad law in that sense because I, for one, can’t even imagine what happened to make it real. I don’t think I even want to try…
10. Have A Beer! But Not In Costa Rica
Everyone knows that it’s perfectly acceptable to drink and drive, right? I mean, c’mon, nobody’s ever suffered from drunk drivers… There haven’t ever been any campaigns against drinking and driving by students, or moms, or the government, have there? Not a one, not ever, am I right? Well, it’s a good thing we don’t all live in Costa Rica (I’m assuming you don’t all, anyway- I know I don’t) because one of the rules of the road there is that it’s perfectly to have a steering wheel in your left hand and a cold Budweiser, or whatever they drink in Costa Rica, in your right hand. Just in case you’re screaming right now that that is an awful law, don’t worry- you’re still not allowed to be drunk and drive in Costa Rica, you can only have that beer in your cup holder if you’re sober. Yeah, I’m sure that works out great for everybody involved. I guarantee that the cops stop every single person they see with a beer in the car and check them out. And there have never been any problems with this law, I’m sure of it.
9. You Can’t Hold Anything In Your Hands While Driving
OK, so you’re sick of nursing your beer all day long while you drive around the beautiful Caribbean beaches of Costa Rica. You need a change of driving scenery. So you head on over to Cyprus so that you can drive around the beautiful Mediterranean beaches of that country. But guess what? Not only can you not have your beer while you cruise around- you can’t have anything. And I mean nothing, not even a bottle of water. Because why? Well, I don’t know, you’ll have to ask a friendly Cypriot, but that’s the law over there; no food or drinks in the car. I’ve been known to eat a pint of Cherry Garcia, guzzle a liter of Mountain Dew, and smoke a pack of Camels all at the same time while driving. On a stick shift, no less. I guess Cyprus isn’t the place for me.
8. Drunk Passengers In Macedonia
So, as we’ve already said and everybody knows, drinking and driving is a deadly combination which should be avoided at all times. But what about drinking and passengering? That’s right; in some places the driving laws for drunkenness include the passengers! Take Macedonia, for example. In that mountainous little country in southeastern Europe, it is illegal to be a drunken passenger and ride in the front seat. How ridiculous. I mean, half the fun of being drunk in a car is being able to control the radio, am I right? And what if you call a cab because your gang of friends are all drunk but there’s only room in the front seat for one of you? Are you gonna be thrown in jail for being responsible? Maybe the Macedonians authorities are worried that those drunk passengers in the shotgun seat are gonna wrest the wheel away from the driver. Or maybe they’re just no fun.
7. Fill’er Up In Germany…Or Else
We all like to make fun of the Germans for being so organized, controlling, so precise, and so darned efficient. And why not? They do (or did) after all, have a propensity for being so thorough that they end up starting land wars in Europe. On the other hand, the Germans do have a wild side. That side might best be exemplified by the Autobahn, the awesome “interstate” highway that cuts across the country and allows all those stolid Germans to blaze down the road at 100mph in their Audis, Mercedes. BMWs and Volkswagens. But those Germans can’t escape their pesky efficient side completely. If you find yourself speeding down the Autobahn and having to pull over because you forgot to fill up your gas tank, guess what? You Hav Broken Ze Law! You’re going to get fined hard because, to the German way of thinking, you caused an “unnecessary” issue by being too dumb to remember to fill up.
6. No Potty Mouths In Maryland
I dare any one of you (well, all of you, actually) to state without lying that you have never cursed at another driver while driving. You know you have- some of us, like myself, have made an unfortunate art of it, scaring small children and spouses more than the other driver we’re waving our fists at and giving the finger to. I mean, c’mon, even Mother Teresa or Gandhi would probably start swearing if they found themselves stuck in traffic in, say, Boston or Istanbul. Whatever you do though, don’t swear in your car in Rockville, Maryland. Cars are considered a public space there and there is a law against swearing in public. Ita Est. That’s Latin for “It is what it is,” you nuts. And you’d better believe it is because you can actually go to jail for 90 days for this road rage offense.
5. If It’s A Monday, You’re Not Driving In Manila
OK, so if you’ve ever lived in a big city or a climate with a lot of snow, you know there are plenty of rules about which side of the road you can park on, or when you can park somewhere and even what days you can park on certain streets. But the capital city of the Philippines, Manila, has taken it one step further. In a truly nutty attempt to control traffic (at least I assume that’s what they’re doing) any car with a license plate that ends in the numbers 1 or 2 is banned from being used on Mondays. You heard me right- you are not allowed to drive your car at all on Mondays if it has the wrong number designation. How messed up is that? Especially since it doesn’t appear that peoples with 3s and 4s can’t drive on Tuesdays or 5s and 6s can’t drive on Wednesdays. It seems to be a really terrible rule of the road as far as I’m concerned.
4. Keep Your Undies To Yourself In San Francisco
This is another one of those insane traffic laws that makes me wonder not only why such a thing ever had to be formalized into law but also who the heck is expected to enforce it and how- when you read what it is I’m sure the first thing you’re going to think “I’m glad the cops are taking care of this.” I’m talking, of course, about that well-known San Francisco road rule that you can never (not ever!) wash your car with your dirty underwear. Or anyone else’s, I imagine. Why, dear Lord, why? This is seriously weird. I mean, who would be washing their car with their underwear? Does this mean that you can wash your car with your clean underwear? These are all questions that will keep me up at night. That and the most burning question of all- can you wash your car in your dirty underwear?
3. You Can Go The Wrong Way In Alabama
Remember that scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles when Steve Martin and John Candy are driving on the wrong side of the freeway. That’s not a problem in Alabama. In fact, Alabama is definitely in the running for the craziest driving laws. Here’s my case in point. We already talked about how you are not allowed to drive blindfolded in the Heart of Dixie. Well, apparently you are allowed to drive the wrong way down a one-way street. I’m not sh*tting you. All that you have to do is hang a lantern on the front of your car and you’re good to go- the wrong way. I really can’t figure out why this law exists. Maybe it’s to make writers like myself question their sanity when they’re researching odd articles. But the truth of the matter is, just hang a Coleman lantern on your front fender and go to town- literally. There’s no word on whether hurricane lamps are allowed.
2. Black Cars Forbidden In Denver On Sundays
So pretty much every single one of these rules of the road we’ve touched upon has been, at best, silly and, at worst, dangerous or seriously misguided. But some just take the cake when it comes to ridiculousness. How about this one, from Denver, Colorado, for example? It seems that the good folk of Denver have a problem with dressing up on Sundays. At least in black anyway. You see it’s illegal to drive a black car within the city limits on the Sabbath. I’m not joking and I really don’t want to know the reason for this one. I mean does the governor sit around trying to think of increasingly weird and unmanageable laws as a way to keep everybody on their toes? Did the populace of Denver once consider black cars to be Satan’s spawn or something? This one is just out of left field, if you ask me.
1. Even Bicycles Have Weird Rules
Last but not least we come to a whacked-out law for bikes on the road. And you thought you were going to be safe to ride your Schwinn when and how you wanted to. Well, sorry to burst your bubble but not in Connecticut. You see, it’s not legal for you to speed on your Huffy in that state. In fact, if you go over 65mph, you’re going to be thrown in jail. It’s crazy, isn’t it? I actually would love to see someone going 65mph on a bike- I don’t think your average denizen of Connecticut could pull that off. Not without some serious Lance Armstrong style “help” anyway. What a terrible rule of the road to finish off our list. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the store pronto and pick up some things. Because before you know it, it will be Sunday and I have a black car.