9 Strange Traffic Laws Around the World
For the most part, traffic laws are enforced to ensure order on our roads. While most of them are purposeful, and its function immediately apparent, there are some laws that may seem downright strange to others.
Here are 9 of the most unique traffic laws we’ve found within Asia and Europe, ranging from the downright hilarious to “that actually does makes sense!”.
In Japan, roaring through puddles and soaking unsuspecting pedestrians will find you guilty of “muddy driving”, and carries a fine of $65. The famously courteous Japanese are not the only ones to have regulations against splashing pedestrians; a little-known provision in the Road Traffic Act in the United Kingdom considers it an offence too, as it is considered reckless and inconsiderate. The maximum fine can go up to $9,200 carrying up to 9 penalty points!
In Beijing however, rules aren’t as favourable towards pedestrians. It is actually illegal for vehicles to stop at pedestrian crossings. Children also have to salute to passing cars in order to cross the road. In an effort by Chinese officials to decrease road accidents, this helps in getting children into the habit of stopping safely for traffic, while making drivers more aware of children by the roadside.
Thailand has an Underwear Law that prohibits driving topless - regardless of gender - whether in cars, motorbikes, or even tuk-tuks. As sweltering as the weather may be, keep that shirt on!
In a bid to control the immense traffic in Manila, Philippines authorities have imposed some unique solutions. Since August 2018, it’s been illegal for a driver to use EDSA, the city’s main highway, unless they had passengers with them. To curb traffic woes further, they have implemented a number-coding system that enforces a day in the week where you can’t legally drive your car between 7AM-8PM, determined by the last digit of your license plate. Mondays are no-go’s for plate numbers ending with 1 and 2, Tuesdays for 3 and 4, and so on.
The Germans are famous for having no speed limits, but Germany’s Autobahns do come with stringent rules for public safety. Their traffic law, Straßenverkehrsordnung, states that it is illegal to stop on the highway. Running out of fuel is avoidable and considered your mistake, punishable with a fine of up to €70. Stopped cars cluttering the road can be a significant danger to motorists when average travel speeds are high.
More interestingly, however, it is legal to drive naked in Germany, as cars are considered personal property, freeing you to do as you please. That is, with the exception of your feet - driving barefoot or with flip-flops are prohibited and considered dangerous.
In France, you are legally required to carry a breathalyser in the car. This law was introduced in July 2012, aiming to reduce drink driving by creating more awareness, and getting drivers to check their sobriety before taking the wheel.
Moscow tries to clean up the streets with a controversial law, making it illegal to drive a dirty car. The lack of definition as to what that specifically refers to makes this law slightly arbitrary, as it is entirely up to the officer to decide what counts as clean enough. Russian car owners have contested the legality of this law, saying it was just another opportunity for unscrupulous policemen to fine drivers, or ask for a bribe to look the other way.
In Switzerland, you are not allowed to wash your car on Sundays. In what might sound like an attempt to be eco-friendly, the intent here is actually in the interest of public consideration. The Swiss are not allowed to mow their lawns on Sunday mornings, or make excessive noise on Saturday nights too.