The Most Bizarre State Driving Laws in the Country

From camels and cows to dirty tires and empty gas tanks, there are some strange traffic laws on the books.
bizarre driving laws

As the law-abiding citizens we are, we make it a point to stay abreast of all the rules of the road. It turns out, however, that’s easier said than done sometimes.

You see, individual states and towns have their own traffic rules and regulations. The vast majority of these laws are similar from place to place and, most would agree, rules that should indeed be on the books. But every so often there’s a driving law that stands out. Whether it’s oddly specific, mindbogglingly random, painfully archaic or just downright silly, they all can be categorized as bizarre traffic laws.

Let’s take a cruise around the country to see what bizarre laws about driving that states have come up with, starting in our neck of the woods.

In the Northeast

Connecticut

Maine

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

  • It’s against the law to inhale car fumes with the intent of inducing euphoria.

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New Jersey

  • Only in New Jersey is there a statewide ban on drivers pumping their own gas (it’s also prohibited in parts of Oregon).
  • Like in Massachusetts, you can’t drive a horse-drawn sleigh on a highway unless there are a sufficient number of bells attached to the horse’s harness.

Rhode Island

  • Section 11-22-11 of Rhode Island law says it’s illegal to ride a horse on a highway for the purpose of racing or testing the speed of the horse. Doing so could cost you $20.
  • You cannot operate a motorized tricycle on a Rhode Island interstate.

Around the Country

Alaska

  • In Anchorage, it’s illegal to tie a dog to the roof of a car.

Arkansas

  • In Little Rock, it’s against the law to honk your horn after 9 p.m. “at any place where cold drinks and/or sandwiches are served.”

California

  • It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle – unless your target is a whale.
  • It can be illegal for a woman to drive while wearing a bathrobe.

Colorado

  • It’s illegal to drive in circles in Westminster, or, more specifically, to drive “past a traffic control point three times in the same direction within any three-hour period.”

Georgia

Illinois

Iowa

  • In Tiffin, you’re prohibited from throwing stones, bricks, or missiles of any kind into the street – unless you get written permission first.

Maryland

  • You cannot use profanity on any street, highway or sidewalk. Doing so will cost you up to $100.

Minnesota

Missouri

Montana

  • It’s illegal to have a sheep in your truck without a chaperone.
  • Don’t let your sprinkler get the street wet in Kalispell – it’s against the law.

Nevada

  • Camels are prohibited from walking on public highways.

Ohio

South Carolina

Washington

  • It’s against the law to hug someone while you’re driving.

Which of these bizarre laws made you laugh the most? Tell us in the comments. 

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59 Thoughts on “The Most Bizarre State Driving Laws in the Country

  1. Years ago in Vermont they had a law on the books that you had to light a sky display, when driving a horse drawn carriage, to warn cars you are coming.

  2. In New Jersey it is illegal to get gas when your tank is more than half full.
    This law was passed during the 1970’s gas shortage. Many motorist would top off their car gas tank at any gas station that was still open. This would increase the already long lines and use the gas that others really needed.

    1. Glad this isn’t being enforced. Have to top off the tank on the cars I rent in NJ every other week so as to return them full.

  3. Massachusetts
    It is illegal to travel on a roadway with a sleigh or sled drawn by a horse, unless there are at least three bells attached to some part of the harness.
    Makes sense, The song Jingle Bells was written about the sleigh races on Salem St in Medford, MA 1860s ish. 🙂

    1. > The song Jingle Bells was written about the sleigh races on Salem St in Medford, MA 1860s ish

      From Snopes.com::
      If you pause to analyze the lyrics, you’ll notice no reference to Christmas or December. Written by James Lord Pierpont, it was initially copyrighted in 1857 under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh.” According to Snopes, the song isn’t a Christmas ditty at all, but rather an ode to Pierpont’s native Massachusetts.

  4. State Law in California says that the only substances you can legally throw out of a moving vehicle are (1) water, and (2) feathers from a live chicken. The second one is a head-scratcher until you consider that CA is an agricultural state; when transporting chickens, an open or well-ventilated truck must be used to avoid suffocating the birds. The wind will blow some of the birds’ feathers onto the highway, so this exemption from the littering laws is intended to prevent animal cruelty. NOTE: discarding a McDonald’s “Crispy Chicken Sandwich” wrapper does not get you off the hook. 🙂

  5. You could be driving on a coastal road and see a whale and shoot it. These are old laws, as it is against the law to kill a whale.

  6. I like this one from South Carolina. “In Hilton Head, it’s illegal to accumulate garbage in your car.” That will force many car owners to keep their cars clean and have unobstructed side and rearview mirrors. I have seen garbage literarily up in the roof of a car, i.e. empty soda cans, newspapers, magazines, clothes, shoes.

    1. Yes sounds weird. I guess the idea is that the law is redundant. It’ll be crazy to crash against a cow and farmers always let the cows cross first!

      1. Some cows escaped in NJ and got onto Rt 80 where my friend hit one just hard enough to crack the turn signal lens. The cow was reported as being OK.

        To this day (25+ years later) we still sometimes give her cow related gifts. 😉

      2. When we lived in Conn. our home was across the street from a dairy farm. The cows frequently got and some wandered into a very busy road we bordered on. I saw them blocking traffic one day and said if I hit one I was keeping the carcass. I was told that was against the law and that I would also have to pay the farmer for the cow (as well as damage to my car).

  7. I had a hearty laugh over the Montana Laws, say no more. I think the stores in many states will run out of sleigh bells after reading this.

        1. Provided you get someone who puts in the right fuel grade so as not to set off your check engine light, puts the pump in properly so as not to spill gas all down the side of your car, or someone who doesn’t keep damaging your gas cap so you don’t have to pay $35/pop to replace. I only go to stations that allow me to pump my own gas in NJ.

    1. As the funny but very astute Robin Williams said in “Moscow on the Hudson”, the movie, “Wat eh kountree!”

  8. Disappointed I can’t take my horse-drawn sleigh on the roads of Massachusetts, as I don’t have the bells. I’m sure those bells would make all the difference in safety with Mass drivers — haha! (I wonder if Anyone told Santa about this law, though maybe it doesn’t apply to reindeer…)

  9. Alaska – tying a dog to the roof of a vehicle should be illegal everywhere.
    Illinois – roadkill? really? No thanks.
    Nevada – Are there that many camels in Nevada?

  10. California women cannot drive wearing a bathrobe. Hilarious! This prevents embarrassing
    kids when dropping them off at school I suppose.

  11. Exactly how to the enforce the “no camels” ordinance in NV? I think I might have seen a camel eat a citation, but they certainly can’t get into a courthouse to appeal it! LOL

  12. “It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle – unless your target is a whale.”

    But isn’t the targeting of whales itself, illegal? 😀

        1. I live in Connecticut and have had to stop for a cattle crossing on several occasions and even helped out twice. But, as far as the chaperone goes I would say that’s a good idea. We have had llamas, sleep, goats and one time a cougar in our van or Subaru. It can cause a scene if they get agitated.

    1. Got worried for a second. Thought I was going to have to cancel my whale hunting trip to California. What the hell?!?! LOL

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