Worldwide Weirdness of Driving Laws
New motoring laws are always being introduced, mainly as a way of keeping up to date with the latest technology or scheme from the powers that be. But as we find ourselves being inundated with new laws, perhaps we should take a look at the old laws that are technically still enforceable, but just plain ridiculous.
You know, like how every Hackney carriage needs to carry a bale of hay and a bag of oats with them at all times … clearly an indication from a past era, and then we have a world of craziness – and yes, some are outdated laws just the same as ours, but others … we have no idea.
Over the Pond
We just have to start with our friends over the water; they have some fantastically crazy laws, but assumedly, they exist for a reason?
What would be the story behind making it illegal to buff your car up with used underwear? Or outlawing the shooting of any animals from a vehicle, unlessthat animal is … a Whale? How would that even work?
Even though this is clearly an aged law, you’d wonder at how practical it would be – When traveling, if you come across horses, you should camouflage your vehicle to blend in to the scenery, but if the horse still reacts, you need to disassemble your vehicle and hide the parts.
One thing they do have right though … entering a cab with bad breath is illegal.
In Luxembourg, your car must have windscreen wipers fitted, even if it doesn’t have a windscreen, whereas in Estonia, you need to carry two wheel chocks with you at all times. And then we come to car cleanliness …
In Russia, your car must be clean at all times, otherwise you could face a fine of around £50, but if you’re based in Switzerland, it’s illegal to clean your car on a Sunday. It used to be the same in Germany, but they relaxed the law so that it’s illegal to clean your car on a Sunday before twelve noon. Cleaning it after that time is fine, unless you want to use water. Or soap.
In Portugal, it’s illegal to carry any type of can with petrol in it, yet in Germany, if you run out of fuel on the autobahn, you’ll face a stiff fine. In fact, if you break down for any reason on the autobahn, you could face a fine (which given that some sections are still unrestricted in speed, makes sense).
Driving in France? You’ll need to carry an alcohol tester (and never get caught speeding!), and if you wear glasses, remember to have them and a spare pairwhen driving in Spain.
Of course, we poke fun at our cousins around the world, but we aren’t completely bereft of daft laws … we all know it’s illegal to urinate in public, but … if you’re standing by the rear wheel of your car, and touching your car, it’s permissible.
Or what about flagging down a taxi in London when you have the plague? That’s a big nope.
The world is full of daft laws, (did you know that causing a nuclear explosion is illegal?), and with more laws being added than removed, it’s no wonder that one or two of them seem archaic and perhaps a little silly, but there’s very little chance of being prosecuted for some of them – the police and justice system (at least in the UK) do have some discretion, and will only act when it’s appropriate to do so.
We should also consider how the laws are interpreted, or how other laws are used instead – outside of London, there typically isn’t a specific offence of parking on the pavement for example, but you will be prosecuted for driving on the pavement which you must have done to reach your parking spot.
Despite the “ignorance is no defence” approach, most police officers openly admit that not everyone can know every law, it would be impossible – many officers themselves don’t know every law, so our advice, if you’re stopped, would always be – be polite, be respectful.
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