I have had the great privilege of living in several of our country’s great states. And the even greater privilege of driving in many cities around the country – Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and most recently Seattle, to name a few.
Typically, being cognizant of the “big” traffic rules (don’t text and drive, use the left lane for passing only, etc.), you can be fairly sure to remain out of the spotlight. There are some lesser-known laws, however, that while entertaining, could keep residents and non-residents alike on their toes.
For example, it is illegal to run out of gas in Youngstown, Ohio.
Using your vehicle on an Oregon highway to prove your physical endurance could result in a Class A traffic violation. The mere fact that someone felt the need to put this on the books puzzles me profusely. But just in CASE you were planning to compete against your vehicle in some sort of foot race, you may not want to do so in the state of Oregon.
If you need a taxi in New Mexico, you absolutely MUST hail them yourself. It is completely illegal for cab drivers to reach out and pull potential customers into vehicles.
In Alabama, it’s illegal to drive while blindfolded. Hmm. Who’d a thunk?
While residents of the great state of New Jersey are required to honk their horn prior to passing a fellow traveler, be wary of when and where you share a friendly “toot” in Arkansas. If you are near an establishment serving cold beverages or sandwiches and it is after 9 p.m., your quick little honk is illegal. And just a little bit north, when you cross the Missouri state line, it’s illegal to honk someone else’s horn.
In addition to the previously mentioned honking thing, keep smiling while driving through New Jersey. It’s against the law to frown at a police officer.
To register your vehicle in Texas, you absolutely must have windshield wipers. Whether or not you choose to have a windshield, however, is completely up to you.
Road ragers beware – in Rockville, Maryland it is illegal to swear from your vehicle. (Boy, do I know some folks who would be in trouble if they lived there!)
Animals are a particularly interesting topic when it comes to traffic laws. Just in case you were wondering, riding a camel on the highway in Nevada is against the law. And in order to protect livestock that may be wandering the Pennsylvania country roads, you must stop every mile to set off warning signals. The signals must then be followed by a 10-minute waiting period, allowing said livestock to clear the road.
In Utah, birds always have the right of way.
Make sure you have plenty of change when you tie your elephant, goat or alligator to a parking meter in Florida. You will be expected to feed the meter. (Wouldn’t you just love to be that parking enforcement officer?)
If I’ve missed your state here, rest assured it is not because the lawmakers of your state have failed to place some kind of equally bizarre statement in the rulebooks. I have simply exhausted my time for today.
So, until next time, safe driving. And remember, it’s illegal to play in the street in North Carolina.