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Strange Rules of the Road From Around the World

October 2, 2014

If you’ve made the decision to move abroad, CurrencyFair have you covered for international money transfers, obviously! But there are other issues of concern, such as language, the logistics of the move, getting your kids set up in schools, and of course learning to drive all over again!

If you’re emigrating from the UK to Australia, for example, you’re lucky – both countries drive on the left side of the road. All of mainland Europe, the US and Canada, and pretty much everywhere else that isn’t a former member of the Empire drives on the right.

Here’s a world map to show you how it is (click image for a larger version).


On top of having to learn to drive on the other side of the road, there are some odd and intriguing rules you’ll also have to adapt to, and some make no sense at all. The below infographic, courtesy of, features nine particularly odd rules from around the globe. We’ve also compiled our own list of bizarre rules below – there really is no end to oddity in the world.


More Strange Rules of the Road

Drinking and driving is obviously a no-no, but in Cyprus, the authorities have taken this to another level. It can get quite hot in the middle of the Eastern Mediterranean, but if you fancy a sip of ice-cold, or more likely lukewarm water, you’d better pull over as the law forbids you to drink anything whilst in control of the car.

It sort of makes sense too. Taking a sip requires a quick look, the use of one, maybe two hands to open and then a tilt of the head, which may all contribute to a momentary lapse in concentration. Definitely one to be aware of.


Continuing the beverage theme, the law in France says “drivers of all motor vehicles and motorcycles must carry a breathalyser”. We’re not too sure how strictly this is enforced, or indeed if the chief of police has shares in the breathalyser company, but thankfully the €11 fine for not producing your kit has been suspended for now.

Denmark has a unique but logical requirement, whereby all drivers must check underneath their cars before beginning a journey. You might think this is a normal and sensible precaution, there could be debris, damage to the undercarriage and could be easily checked while making sure your wheels are in order. The reason, however, is to ensure there are no kids asleep under your car. Better safe than sorry, I suppose.

In the USA, things get even stranger.

In Alabama, it’s illegal to operate a vehicle while blindfolded, which is fine, but it’s also illegal to drive whilst barefoot. Go figure, as they say. Aren’t most cars automatic in the US? Surely you don’t need real shoes to operate two pedals?

In California, it’s illegal to shoot at wild game from a moving vehicle, although if you’re hunting a whale, you’re good to go. You should also get out of the car before it sinks. Oh, and don’t hunt whales, they’re amazing.
fancy cycling
According to, police in Galesburg, Illinois, have very little tolerance for “fancy riding” (of the bicycle variety, presumably). What it actually means, or whether it’s enforced in any way, is clearly unimportant when the phrase itself conjures up such a wondrous image. How fancy can one cycle a bike? It turns out that in 1901, there was a book published dedicated to this very issue, and it seems the answer is very fancy indeed!

A guide to fancy cycling seems magical. Shame on you, early 20th Century Illinois Police, for outlawing such a beautiful thing.

Getting back to the world of automotive laws, and North Carolina have taken the literal route with their, somewhat logical, and thus unnecessary rules. It’s been declared illegal to drive on the path, or “sidewalk”, through a cemetery unless you’re on official grave-business, and most importantly it is illegal to play in traffic. Tough luck, adventurous children.

Where would we be without rules, eh?

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