Law of the Land: Strange Rulings About Cars in Foreign Countries

There are different laws, rules and regulations when it comes to driving a car and you need to know all of them if you want to pass your driving test. But what about driving laws in other countries? Generally, the same rules about maintaining the legal speed limit and courteous driving apply, but in many countries there are additional laws that may seem a little unusual.

Some countries have odd laws that you should be aware of before visiting or driving in these places. Any traffic offences in foreign countries could increase the cost of your car insurance premiums and even cost you your no claims bonus.

Denmark

ILLEGAL: Starting a car with someone underneath it
MANDATORY: Pulling over for a horse and cart if the horse is nervous

Denmark is the land of Hans Christian Anderson, LEGO and Carlsberg beer. However, Denmark is also the home of some odd driving laws that you may not be aware of. A driver in Denmark is legally required to check the function of their horn, steering, lights and brakes before each journey they take, which seems reasonable enough.

Similarly, if you break down on a motorway in Denmark, you must place a large red plastic triangle by your car to alert other drivers. This means you must have a red plastic triangle in your car at all times.

However, a driving law in Denmark on the more unusual side deals with a horse drawn carriage. If a carriage passes you on the road and the horse becomes nervous, you are legally obligated to pull over and let the horse pass – you may even need to cover your car to keep from scaring the horse; so take a blanket with you!

Of course, Denmark also enforces the law that drivers are not allowed to start a car if someone is underneath the vehicle. If an accident of this nature were to occur in a foreign country, your premiums would definitely raise!

Philippines

ILLEGAL: Driving on certain days of the week (depending on your license plate)

Renowned for its exquisite beaches and sun-kissed holiday locations, the Philippines is a great place to go for a holiday – unless you want to drive there every day of the week. The Philippines has a bizarre rule stating when cars are able to drive based on the number located on their license plates! Cars with number plates ending in a 1 or 2 must not drive on a Monday.

Meanwhile, plates ending in 3 or 4 are prohibited from being on the roads on Tuesday; and of course Wednesday is forbidden for drivers with plates ending in 5 or 6. You won’t find any cars ending in 7 or 8 driving on Thursday, while drivers with a 9 or 0 are only allowed to drive on Friday before seven in the morning!

Switzerland

MANDATORY: Sticker highlighting ownership of snow tires

Many people take out special clauses in their car insurance in order to protect themselves if their vehicle is stolen. However, this isn’t an option if you are from Switzerland. In Switzerland, if you leave your car keys inside your vehicle and your car is stolen while being unlocked, you will not receive any compensation for the crime. In fact, you may even face punishment as it was your responsibility to secure the vehicle!

In Switzerland there are even laws regulating certain stickers required for your car. You must also own a special sticker if you have snow tires on your vehicle. This sticker must sit on your dashboard to remind you to go no faster than 160 km\h with snow tires on. If you violate this sticker’s ordinance, you will face punishment.

United Kingdom

MANDATORY: Cab drivers to carry hay at all times for hungry horses
ILLEGAL: Farmers not to transport cattle on the road between the hours of 10 and seven

The English are a nation of animal lovers, but you wouldn’t expect this to be reflected in their driving laws! Bizarrely enough, the UK is the home to some odd driving rules involving animals. If you are a farmer and you need to transport your cows on a road, you may not do so between 10 in the morning and 7 at night (unless you have permission from the Police Commissioner).

Similarly, any taxi drivers in the Hackney area of London are required to carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats with them at all times. This law dates back to the days when cabs were pulled by horses and drivers were responsible for feeding the animals when they got tired or hungry; but this law is still currently in the books.

Australia

MANDATORY: Bar owners must provide accommodation for horses when requested

Australia has similar laws to the European countries, perhaps due to colonization. Drivers found leaving their car keys inside the vehicle may be punished similar to Switzerland, while taxi drivers are again required to take oats and hay with them at all times.

However, this law also applies to bar owners in Australia. Bars must be able to provide food, water and stables to any of their patron’s horses.

Canada

ILLEGAL: Right turn on red lights / Repairing your car in the street
MANDATORY: Color-coordinating your garage to city requirements

There are a few tricky laws in Canada you should be aware of. In Canada if you own a garage, the color of the door must be determined by the city. Having the wrong door color could result in a fine. You are also unable to carry out any car maintenance in the street-so don’t break down on the side of the road!

Speeding tickets may also cause you problems in Canada. In most cases, if you get a speeding ticket in a foreign country it will not adversely affect your premiums back home. However, in Canada this is not the case. Canada made an agreement with several states in America to convict and punish motorists in their home town for any fines accrued in their country- so keep your speed low.

Belgium

LEGAL: Turning into oncoming traffic

Belgium’s road laws are fairly typical of most places in the world. That is, with the exception of one strange law. A driver in Belgium can turn into oncoming traffic and actually has the right of way! These drivers only give up the right of way if they slow down or come to a complete stop. Please don’t try this at home, as you will definitely cause an accident and increase the cost of your insurance premiums!

CONCLUSION

The driving laws in the rest of the world are a weird and wonderful bunch. Many of these laws date back to times that are no longer valid, yet these laws still remain. It is definitely worth researching the driving rules of any country you are planning to visit. After all, you don’t want to be found guilty of a crime in another country that you didn’t realize was illegal – such a road offence is sure to increase the price of your premiums at home and cost you more money.

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  5. [...] Law of the land: strange rulings about cars in foreign countries Here in the United States, there are tons of ancient, wacky state laws that we like to dig up from time to time, and around the world, automobiles are subject to some pretty wonky rules, as well. For example, Craig, did you know that in Denmark, it’s illegal to start your car with someone underneath it? Or, Jeff, did you know that in Switzerland, it’s mandatory to display a sticker showing that you own snow tires? Let’s take things a step further – in Canada, it’s apparently mandatory to color-coordinate your garage to city requirements, and in Austraila, bar owners must provide accommodation for horses when requested. Hear that, Michelle? Even Joy gets to come along! [...]