Are you following the rules of the road? While you may know how stop signs and speed limit signs work, there are more obscure laws on the books that can be confusing, dangerous or just make you wonder what incident lead to their creation. Here are some of the strangest road laws you’ll find in the world.
Driving in America
You don’t have to go far to encounter weird road laws. Here in Wisconsin, you can’t ride a bicycle with your hands off the handlebars. If you stretch out an arm to signal a turn, you’re technically breaking the law. Cross the border into Illinois and you can be ticketed if you drive a car without a steering wheel.
Newspapers may mostly be a thing of the past, but reading one in Michigan can get you arrested if you do so in the middle of the road. Prefer comic books? Catching up on the latest issue of “Amazing Spider-Man” is illegal when you’re behind the wheel in Oklahoma. In Alabama, they want to be sure you have your eyes on the road, so the state has a law against driving while being blindfolded.
Frustrated while in the drive-through line? In Arkansas, it’s illegal to honk your horn anywhere that serves cold drinks or sandwiches after 9 pm.
Most city centers have metered parking spaces, but what if you’re leaving something other than a car in the space? In Florida, you still need to pay if you use the meter to tie up an alligator, goat or elephant.
Like chewing tobacco? If you’re in Georgia, drive a truck. It’s legal to spit out the window while driving one, but it isn’t legal to spit if you’re in a car or bus.
In South Dakota, young drivers can get a restricted minor’s license similar to the teen driver’s license here in Wisconsin. Holders of this license are free to drive from 6 am to 10 pm with parents’ permission, and they’re banned from using phones to call or text while driving. That sounds normal, but what isn’t normal is the age limit: this license can be issued to anyone over 14 years and six months old – the earliest in the nation.
Drive Drunk…or Don’t
Today, every state has a legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08%. Blow that level or above on a breathalyzer, and you’ll be charged with a DWI. Blow below that but still have alcohol in your system, and you’ll probably be charged with a DUI. Despite this, it’s still legal to have an open container of alcohol in the car with you if you’re in Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, and Connecticut.
Most countries have the same or stricter standards except Australia and Costa Rica. In both countries, there’s no penalty for driving with a BAC below 0.05, despite ample evidence that reaction times are severely hindered by that much alcohol. How much booze does it take to reach that level? If you’re an average adult male, you could have a couple shots of hard alcohol before getting in your car and fall just below the limit.
This has led some travelers to believe they can drink as much as they want behind the wheel, especially in Costa Rica which has lax enforcement of underage drinking laws. Regulations vary between states and territories vary in Australia, but penalties above the 0.05 limit are as stiff as American laws. In Costa Rica, if you have a BAC higher than 0.075 or you have an accident while you have any alcohol in your system, you’ll be facing a prison sentence and a hefty fine.
Laws Up North
“Green” means “go,” but what if the light is blinking? British Columbia and the Yukon both use these confusing lights at intersections with pedestrian crossings.
All Canadian Provinces except Ontario and Quebec have laws prohibiting the driver from texting unless the vehicle is parked. That includes private property, as one Alberta man found out when in line at a Tim Horton’s drive-thru. Granted, the police officer did see the driver texting while on the road, but he felt the need to issue a $287 CAD fine when the man continued to roll through the line with his hands off the wheel.
When You Need Collision Repair Without the Hassle, Visit Merton Auto Body
We can’t get you out of a ticket, but we can help you if you need collision repair. Merton Auto Body has served Waukesha county and the surrounding area for over 70 years. We’re located near the lake district between highways 164 and 83, just south of Silver Spring Drive. In most cases, we can have a repair quote ready for you in just 15 minutes.