Strange traffic laws from around the globe

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A London Hackney taxi.

Taxis in the Hackney area of London are still required to carry hay for horses. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Russ London/Wikipedia)

The rules of the road differ depending upon the country in which you live. Sometimes such laws are a matter of common sense and politeness; other times, they’re simply strange when compared with traffic laws in the U.S. Here are some strange traffic laws from other nations.

Mechanical and horse safety first in Denmark

In the land of Denmark, drivers are legally obligated to check the horn, steering, lights and brakes before they enter the roadway, every single time. Furthermore, if someone happens to be underneath your vehicle – hopefully this would only be someone working on the car, rather than one of your adversaries – it is illegal to start the car.

This kind of safety check makes good sense. A more outlandish, yet safety-conscious traffic law in Denmark involves nervous horses. If you are driving your motor vehicle and a horse-drawn carriage passes you on the road, Danish law obligates you to pull over to the side of the road if the horse becomes nervous. If the presence of your car nearby continues to disturb the passing horse, the law dictates you may even need to cover the car with a blanket so that the horse can no longer see it.

Illegal to drive in the Philippines

Depending upon the closing digit of your license plate number, there are certain days in the Philippines on which you legally cannot drive the vehicle. Sources indicate that if a license plate ends in a 1 or 2, the car cannot legally be driven on a Monday. A 3 or 4 cannot drive on a Tuesday. Wednesday is illegal for cars whose plates end in a 5 or 6. Thursdays are no days for 7 or 8, while those with 9 or 0 cannot drive after 7 a.m. on Fridays. Blame it on overcrowding, poorly conditioned roads and a relative lack of national import controls on vehicles, suggests the blog Drivesteady.

Punished for leaving keys in the car

In Switzerland, if you leave your keys in the car, you can be cited for failing to secure the vehicle. This even holds true if the vehicle is stolen. Not only will theft charges likely be thrown out, but you can still be cited. Australia has a similar law. Cars with snow tires in Switzerland must display a special sticker clearly on the dashboard. This is not to notify other drivers that you’re using snow tires but to remind yourself to keep your speed under 99.4 mph. If you’re caught exceeding that limit while snow tires are in use, you will be cited.

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Hay is for cabs, for horses

In the United Kingdom, farmers cannot legally transport cattle on the road between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., unless they have special permission from the Police Commission. In spite of this, taxi cabs in the Hackney area of London are still required to carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats at all times. This is a holdover from the days of horse-drawn carriages, and the law still happens to be on the books. A similar law exists in Australia, but it also applies to bar owners. Food, water and stables must be made available, in case a patron has a horse.

No right on red

Depending upon the safety level of the individual roadway, some red lights in the U.S. do not permit a legal right-hand turn. Canada has the same law, but it applies to all red lights across the nation. Plus, if your car breaks down in Canada, don’t pull over and attempt to fix the vehicle while it sits on the roadside. That is also illegal.

Right-of-way chicken

In the U.S., turning left on the red light requires that the turning driver grant right-of-way to oncoming traffic. Such laws tend to save lives and limit costly accidents. In Belgium, however, the driver who’s turning has the legal right-of-way over cars headed straight through the intersection. If turning drivers slow down or come to a complete stop, however, they cede right-of-way.

Traffic bedlam in India



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