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
- You must grant right-of-way to any person guiding cattle across the roadway.
- It’s illegal to sell a motor vehicle on Sunday.
- In South Berwick, parking in front of Dunkin’ Donuts is prohibited.
- In Milford, peeping into the windows of automobiles is against the law.
- 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.
- It’s against the law to inhale car fumes with the intent of inducing euphoria.
- 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.
- 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
- In Anchorage, it’s illegal to tie a dog to the roof of a car.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.”
- In Marietta, it’s illegal to spit from a car or bus. Spitting from a truck, however, is perfectly fine.
- You can claim roadkill, so long as you don’t owe child support.
- In Tiffin, you’re prohibited from throwing stones, bricks, or missiles of any kind into the street – unless you get written permission first.
- You cannot use profanity on any street, highway or sidewalk. Doing so will cost you up to $100.
- In Minnetonka, it can be illegal to have dirty tires or wheels.
- You are not allowed to leave your keys in your car in University City.
- 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.
- Camels are prohibited from walking on public highways.
- In Youngstown, running out of gas is a misdemeanor.
- Cincinnati taxi drivers can only wear shorts from May 16 through Labor Day.
- In Hilton Head, it’s illegal to accumulate garbage in your car.
- 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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84 Thoughts on “The Most Bizarre State Driving Laws in the Country”
How does one transport one’s Camel in Nevada, if you cannot have them walk on public highways? Isn’t there an exception even on hump day? Sheesh!
The article omitted a RI law: It’s illegal to use turn signals. Most RI drivers obey this law.
Some of the above make a great deal of sense, some of course are nonsense.
In rural areas it is quite common for farmers to lead cattle across the highway. The Connecticut law makes sense to me.
Do you really need that law in Alaska? Who does that anyway?
Denver, CO has a funky law where it is illegal to pull into a drive, parking lot or street and turn around to go back the way you came in without turning the vehicle off and dismounting before continuing the turnaround.
There should be a law which would not be so bizarre but the act itself is. That is, driving with pets on your lap. Besides it is just as unsafe for the pet to unharnessed as it is for a person to be unbelted.
Allowing a dog to hang its head out the open window is also a bad idea. A big dog’s head could block the driver’s side view mirror if the dog is on the driver’s side of the car.
I was stopped once in Georgia for having snow tires on the car! It’s illegal to have spiked tires. Fortynately, mine did not have spikes!
I’m reminded of one of those old laws that are still on the books in some parts of the country: If a car comes upon a horse and the horse is frightened by the car, the driver must turn the engine off. If that does not calm the horse sufficiently, the driver must take the car apart and hide the pieces in the grass until the horse has gone. Yeeeesh!
The ILLINOIS law made me laugh the most followed by the California whale one.
The dirty tires & wheels, it must be a clean state!
I got a ticket on I-5 in Washington for “hugging”…actually, my wife was just snuggled up next to me on the bench seat of my Studebaker station wagon. The ticket stuck, though. Guess we’ll never do THAT again.
I find it bizarre that the CT law on granting right of way to cattle is considered bizarre. Are people so uninformed about farming and where their food comes from these days that they don’t understand the need for such a law. Next time you’re enjoying that milk, ice cream, steak, or burger thank the farmer who was crossing his cattle. Kind of goes along with people who move somewhere rural to get out of the city and then the first thing they do is complain about their farm neighbors.
Amusement park rides in Massachusetts are considered ‘ moving vehicles’, and as such require a license plate AND seatbelts. The carousel cannot start without all adults and children properly belted in.
That may explain why traffic courts are so busy and jails are overcrowded– so many traffic rules– too many to remember.
Regarding “no leaving your keys in a running car” in University City, MO (suburb of St. Louis on the western city line), it’s still enforced. I used to live there. One cold winter morning, I stopped to pick up my dry cleaning on the way to work and left the engine running to keep the car warm. I thought I was doing the right thing by locking the car and taking the valet key with me so no one could take off with my car. In the less than five minutes I was in the cleaners, an officer pulled in, came inside and asked whose car it was. Upon admitting it was mine, I was written a ticket. I was furious and stupified but tried to keep my cool (and manners) for fear of being given another ticket!
And here I thought that was a pretty smart law. I know people who’s cars have been stolen because they were “just running in for a minute” and they left their cars running. Oops!
That law should be in every state – it’s probably the biggest source of car thefts. Get remote start. You shut off, exit and lock the car, then remote start it (if your state allows you to run an engine while parked).
The Rhode Island law prohibiting riding a motorized tricycle on an Interstate highway is not odd. A motorized tricycle is a slow vehicle incapable of maintaining the minimum speed limit on an interstate highway. Details of definitions of vehicle types may require a separate provision prohibiting their use on an interstate highway. Note however that bicycles are permitted on the shoulders of interstate highways in a number of western states where the interstate is the only connecting road, and this is safe and reasonable if the shoulder is wide.
I used to drive, once in a while, a NYPD Cushman 3 wheeler. I don’t think it could get over 35, and if you leaned over far enough could tip over. But for what we used it for, it was great. No real speed required.
Was that Montana law a response to the old saw, “Montana: where men are men and sheep are nervous.” ?
But can I legally have a gorilla in the FRONT seat in Massachusetts? Just asking for a friend…
As long as he’s/she’s wearing a seat belt– don’t forget many states have seat belt laws.
Tying a dog to the roof of a car. I mean that goes without saying I’d think
Yes. I believe that would be cruelty to animals.
In Anchorage, it’s illegal to tie a dog to the roof of a car. How about the hood lol