Driving in a foreign country is full of potential pitfalls. Knowing which side of the road you’re supposed to be on, local speed limits and general etiquette is a good first step, but often things can be a little more complicated. Here are a few of the most surprising rules of the road from around the world.
- Costa Rica – Drink and Drive but don’t get drunk
One of the strangest driving laws is found in the Central American paradise of Costa Rica. Legally, it’s perfectly fine to drink alcohol behind the wheel. However, if you are stopped and found to have a blood alcohol level of higher than 0.75%, you go straight to jail. It’s either completely crazy or an ingenious kind of natural selection. To be honest, it’s probably best to avoid drinking and driving altogether.
- Alabama – No Blindfolds Please
American states are full of random regulations which just leave you wondering ‘Why?’ In Alabama it’s illegal to drive whilst wearing a blindfold. Really. We don’t know why this rule was brought in, but we’d quite like to find out.
- Japan – No Splashing
Japan is pretty much the world’s go-to state for all things etiquette related. Have you ever been happily strolling along when a thoughtless driver has roared through a nearby puddle, leaving you in a shivering, soaked ball of rage? Well in their role as internationally revered moral compass, the Japanese have made it an offense to splash pedestrians by the side of the road.
- Thailand – Keep those tops on
With high temperatures and humidity even higher, driving in Thailand without air conditioning can be pretty uncomfortable to say the least. Despite this, it’s an offense to drive without a top on, and those caught showing too much flesh behind the wheel, can be hit with a small fine.
- Denmark – Check for Children
After a tragic incident several years ago involving the death of a child, drivers in Denmark are now obliged to check underneath their vehicles for children before setting off.
- France – Bring your own Breathalyser
Many Brits are caught out on French roads every year. Whether you’ve forgotten to pack a hi-vis jacket, spare bulbs or your GB stickers, there are a number of rules you need to check out before you travel. One of the lesser known regulations is that you’re legally obliged to carry a breathalyser. Luckily, at the moment there is no punishment if you’ve left yours at home – we’ve all been there – but it’s best to take one along, if you want to stay on the good side of the local police.
- Russia – Keep it Clean
In Russia it’s an offense to drive around in a dirty car. This can be enforced when you least expect it, as the difference between clean and dirty is always going to be subjective. If you’re planning on taking to the wheel in Moscow anytime soon, your best bet is to cross your fingers and hope the local traffic police have more important things to deal with.