- Every state, even every city, has different laws.
- In Alamosa, Colorado, throwing missiles at cars is illegal.
- In Washington, it’s unlawful to hug someone while driving.
New drivers learn the rules of the road in driver’s education courses. But there are some laws about traffic, car ownership, road signs, and pumping gas that few people even know are on the books.
Here’s the most bizarre driving law in every US state.
ALABAMA: It is illegal for a passenger to interfere with the driver’s view in any way.
The law states that a person in the front seat can’t obstruct the view of the driver, or interfere with the driver’s control of the vehicle.
ALASKA: Stringing a wire across a street in Anchorage is against the law.
The law specifies wires, but also forbids glass bottles, glass, nails, tacks, cans, or any other item that could cause injury.
ARIZONA: You’re not legally required to wear a helmet on your motorcycle over the age of 18.
This law has been the point of contention for some time in the state.
ARKANSAS: After 9 p.m. in Little Rock, you can’t honk the horn of a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served.
CALIFORNIA: It is a misdemeanour to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle — unless your target is a whale.
Even though it seems counter-intuitive that you’d shoot at a whale from your car (or bike, or plane, or boat, etc.), California says it’s allowed. All other animals are off-limits, but whales? Fair game apparently.
COLORADO: Throwing missiles at cars is illegal in Alamosa.
According to Alamosa’s Code of Ordinances, “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly project any missile at or against any vehicle or equipment designed for the transportation of persons or property.”
CONNECTICUT: In New Britain, it’s illegal for fire trucks to exceed 25 miles per hour… even when heading to a fire.
According to the Hartford Courant, the city of New Britain has a law that states fire trucks can’t exceed the speed limit, even if they’re on their way to a fire.
DELAWARE: In Fenwick Island, you can’t change your clothes inside your car.
It’s not just changing clothes – it’s illegal for anyone “to live, dwell, cook, sleep, change clothes, or use toilet facilities inside any vehicle” in Fenwick Island.
FLORIDA: In Cape Coral, you can’t park a commercial vehicle at your own home.
A city ordinance states that commercial vehicles cannot be parked on residential properties. So, essentially, a plumber can’t park his own van at his house, as long as it’s being used for work purposes.
GEORGIA: It’s illegal to drive your car through a playground in Dublin.
A city ordinance explicitly states that motor vehicles cannot drive through playgrounds, unless they obtain written permission.
HAWAII: As in the rest of the country, you must wear a seat-belt inside a car. However, if you’re over 12, you can legally ride in the back of a pick-up truck with no safety restrictions at all.
If you’re not a fan of seat-belts, just head on down to Hawaii, where you can 100% legally ride in the back of a pick-up truck with no pesky seat-belts holding you back, as long as all the seats in the cab are occupied.
IDAHO: A Coeur d’Alene police officer must either honk or flash his lights and wait for three minutes before approaching a vehicle that he thinks people are having sex in.
According to “The Little Road Trip Handbook,” police officers in Coeur d’Alene try to be respectful of those getting busy in their cars by giving them a heads up before busting them.
ILLINOIS: You can’t have anything hanging from your windows that would obstruct your view, even fuzzy dice.
The law states: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle with any objects placed or suspended between the driver and the front windshield, rear window, side wings, or side windows.”
So wave goodbye to your fuzzy dice, your dashboard hula girl, and your air fresheners.
INDIANA: You can’t stick your head through the sunroof of your car in South Bend.
Specifically, no one can drive a a vehicle “containing any person or object projecting or hanging outside or on the top thereof.”
IOWA: It’s illegal to throw bricks onto the highway in Tiffin… unless you have written permission.
It’s not just bricks – you need a permission slip to throw stones or shoot arrows as well.
KANSAS: Derby residents are breaking the law if their tires screech.
You might have to pay a fine of $US500, or spend a month in jail.
KENTUCKY: Dogs may not molest cars in Fort Thomas.
The law doesn’t really specify what “molesting” passing vehicles means, but it’s illegal.
LOUISIANA: It’s illegal to smoke a cigarette inside of your car if a child in a car seat is inside as well.
It makes sense – secondhand smoke is dangerous – but it’s interesting that the law specifies that it’s illegal if the child in question is “required to be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat, a forward-facing child safety seat, a booster seat, or a motor vehicle’s safety belt,” and also that it doesn’t matter if the windows are down.
Offenders will be fined $US150, or could be sentenced to at least 24 hours of community service.
MAINE: Parking in front of the Dunkin’ Doughnuts in South Berwick is a no-no.
It’s prime real estate, apparently.
MARYLAND: It’s a misdemeanour in Rockville to “curse and swear or use obscene language upon or near any street, footpath or highway within the hearing of persons passing by.”
It’s unclear how you could really enforce this law, but it’s on the books.
MASSACHUSETTS: Peeping in the windows of automobiles is forbidden in Milford.
You’re safe in the privacy of your own vehicle in Milford.
MICHIGAN: If your town has a population of more than 130,000 people, you can’t buy cars on Sundays.
If your car dies on a Sunday, and you live in a big Michigan city, you’re out of luck until Monday. But small towns rejoice – if your city’s population is less than 130,000 people, you’re fine.
MINNESOTA: Driving a truck with dirty tires is considered a public nuisance in Minnetonka.
You might want to go through a car wash before driving through Minnetonka.
MISSISSIPPI: An old law states that if you’re riding in a car with a person of the opposite sex while barefoot, the two of you are legally married.
This law pops up in the “Little Book of Loony Driving Laws.”
MISSOURI: In Maryville, you can’t “cling” on to a moving vehicle.
This includes a person on a “bicycle, motorcycle, coaster, sled, roller skates, or any other vehicle” hanging on to another vehicle.
MONTANA: It is illegal for sprinkler water to get the street wet in Kalispell.
The rule applies to footpaths, too.
NEBRASKA: On mountain highways, drivers must stay to the right. But Nebraska doesn’t have any mountains.
NEVADA: The lead vehicle in a funeral procession is allowed to run red lights.
Some states give funeral processions the right of way, but Nevada is the only state where the vehicle leading the procession can run through red lights (after slowing down as necessary).
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Motorcycle-only checkpoints are not allowed.
Motorcyclists have to share the road.
NEW JERSEY: Drivers cannot pump their own gas.
The Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act of 1949 forbids civilians from pumping their own gas. New Jersey is the only state in the US where this law is still in effect.
NEW MEXICO: Spitting on a roadway is illegal.
It’s a petty misdemeanour.
NEW YORK: Ice cream trucks can’t sell ice cream while moving.
An ice cream truck must be “lawfully parked or stopped” to serve customers.
NORTH CAROLINA: In Dunn, it is unlawful to drive into a cemetery for fun.
Unless you’re there for “legitimate business” like digging a grave or burying someone, you may not drive through a cemetery.
NORTH DAKOTA: “Chop shops” are illegal.
“Chop shops” disassemble stolen cars and sell them for parts or disguise them enough to prevent them from being found. Owning and operating one is illegal, but so is selling or buying from one, knowing that it is a chop chop.
OHIO: Taxi drivers in Cincinnati may only wear shorts from May 16th through Labour Day.
They must also be in a solid colour, no more than three inches above the knee and not below the knee.
OKLAHOMA: In Bartlesville, if a dog is run over by a car, the owner must pay for the dog’s disposal.
An animal that is killed on or along a public street is presumed to have been “running at large” and the owner is liable for all expenses of treatment, impoundment, and of disposal.
OREGON: It’s illegal to leave a container of urine or faecal matter on the side of the road.
Oregon State Legislature forbids leaving a container a urine or other human waste on the side of the highway or throwing it from the vehicle. Doing so is a Class A misdemeanour.
PENNSYLVANIA: It is illegal to ride in a boat on a trailer while it’s being driven on the highway.
This also applies to mobile homes on trailers.
RHODE ISLAND: It’s illegal to string wire across a highway less than 14 feet off the ground.
Doing so is a misdemeanour that comes with a fine between $US100 and $US500.
SOUTH CAROLINA: In Maudlin, it’s considered a public nuisance to leave so much trash in a vehicle that it attracts rats.
It is unlawful for the garbage in one’s car to provide food or harborage for rats, according to Maudlin’s Code of Ordinances.
SOUTH DAKOTA: A person can be charged with a DUI even if they weren’t driving.
South Dakota law states that a person who is in complete control of a vehicle can be charged with a DUI. Defence attorney Tim Rensch told KOLA TV that he sees five to six cases of people charged for driving while intoxicated while they were holding their keys outside the ignition every year.
TENNESSEE: In Nashville and Davidson County, people riding scooters, in-line skates, or roller skates must obey the speed limit and move in a single file.
Anyone riding a scooter or wearing skates must not exceed the speed limit or move “at a speed that is faster than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.”
TEXAS: It’s illegal for someone wearing roller skates to be pulled by a car.
UTAH: Vintage vehicles don’t have to drive at a minimum speed if they’re being driven to or from events where they will be on display.
As long as they’re registered and won’t create a hazard or public nuisance, they can go as slow as they want.
VERMONT: The rules of the road apply to anyone riding an animal or an animal-drawn vehicle.
That is, except for the laws “which by their very nature can have no application” when the vehicle is an animal.
VIRGINIA: Only school buses are allowed to be painted yellow.
WASHINGTON: It’s unlawful to hug someone while driving.
Washington State Legislature includes a section that bans operating a vehicle “when such person has in his or her embrace another person which prevents the free and unhampered operation of such vehicle.”
WEST VIRGINIA: Advertising signs adjacent to roads aren’t allowed to use the words “stop” or “danger” or imply the need to stop or presence of danger.
It might be a catchy advertising tactic, but it could be confusing or alarming to drivers.
WISCONSIN: Snowmobiles are only allowed to cross roadways that are less than five lanes.
If the roadway has five lanes, crossing it in a snowmobile is only allowed if the Department of Transportation authorizes the crossing.
WYOMING: Drivers who come across roadkill are allowed to keep the carcasses if they obtain permission.
According to Wyoming’s State Legislature, roadkill is fair game with either a letter of authorization stating that the driver will use it for ” beneficial use,” a scientific or educational collecting permit, or a donation certificate, which can require bringing the dead animal in for an inspection.
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