If you have your license then you clearly have an idea of the driving laws here in the UK; even if you don’t always follow them to the letter. Do you know how things work in different parts of the world? While driving laws look similar around the world, there are some that do not just stand out, they are downright bizarre.
Different driving laws for different countries
While in Denmark, you have to act like the police officers in 1970s Northern Ireland and check under the car before driving off. No, you are not checking for bombs. You are looking to see if there is someone underneath the car!
The parking laws in some Spanish cities mean you can be pulled in for parking on a perfectly fine corner of the road. Over there, you need to know what day of the month it is because you are expected to park on sides of the roads where the houses have even numbers while driving around on even days of the month, and vice versa for uneven days.
Things are always different in Switzerland, and driving laws follow this trend. Having cycling jerseys, cycling shoes and other such important cycling gear isn’t enough to save you from time with the authorities if you do not have an annual insurance sticker clearly displayed on your bicycle! You must meet this bureaucratic requirement whether a tourist or a resident.
The traffic laws in Belgium are a lot more favourable to cyclists than in the UK, as they are allowed to move in either direction as long as the traffic sign indicates so.
Most of us have heard of acting like Romans when in Rome. If you have never had reason to put that maxim to test, driving in Italy is a good one. While driving outside a built-up area in Italy during the day, your headlights must be dipped. Also, keep your hounds at home or drive around with your favourite. You can’t have more than one pet in the car unless you have cages in the rear. Good luck getting your dog in a cage.
You can also only park your car in the direction of traffic.
Driving in Cyprus isn’t for the short tempered or binge eaters. If you are used to enjoying your coffee while honking away at other drivers in stops, you should be ready to dance to the authorities’ music here. Eating or drinking anything in your car at all is illegal in Cyprus. You are also not allowed to use your horns in residential areas or near hospitals, except for justifiable emergencies.
Also, you must not forget to pay attention to the sun. This is important as you are expected to deploy your lights between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise.
Don’t park anywhere in Greece until you are sure it is safe to do so. The Greek police are allowed to seize the number plates on illegally-parked vehicles and they put this power to good use every day.
Breathalysers are not the property of the police (gendarmes) here so you need to have one with you in the car anytime you are challenged by them. Also, a driver flashing lights at you over there doesn’t mean he is allowing you to move first. He is actually telling you he wants to move. This is more than of a norm than a law but worth knowing.
Watch out for the road sign that has a picture of a bugle and a red line across it while in the centre of Vienna. It simply means you are not allowed to use your car horn.
The United States
If you’ve been to California, you will know they have a reputation for bizarre driving laws. If you are female, you cannot drive while wearing a dressing gown, for example.
Adherence to these laws, strange as they may be is compulsory if you want to enjoy your driving or cycling in these countries. If you find any of them ridiculous, laugh and then follow the law!
You might also like my post on things to do in Copenhagen