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Unusual Driving Rules And Regulations Around The World

Unusual Driving Rules And Regulations Around The World
Issue Time:2017-08-08

Unusual Driving Rules And Regulations Around The World

There are many things an expat will have to adjust to on arrival in their new country. Even the most familiar things may suddenly be strange and different thanks to a new language and an unfamiliar culture. 

Which side do you drive on? How fast can you go? Do you need to pay a toll on this road? Can you answer your phone whilst driving? Suddenly you’ll need to learn a whole new Highway Code, one that may vary quite a lot between the letter of the law and the realities of the road.

Driving tends to be fairly important for most expats, who often live in one area, work in another and may have to drop off children at multiple schools. So the last thing you need is to find yourself on the wrong side of the road, or the law, and left stranded without a driver’s licence.

Make sure you read up on the rules before you arrive, but to give you a taste of how weird and wonderful the rules of the road can be, we’ve compiled a list of the weirdest driving rules from around the world.

Keep a spare pair of glasses in your car - Spain

It’s rather important that you can see where you’re going whilst driving. So if you need glasses to drive, Spain insists that you keep a spare pair in your car, so that you can never be caught without them.

With Brits retiring to Spain in ever-greater numbers, the number of older expats cruising around the Costa del Sol is rising. These drivers are more likely than their younger counterparts to need glasses when behind the wheel, so it’s best they order extra pairs of specs at their next check up.

It’s illegal to drive a dirty car - Russia

This has passed from local law to urban legend to the grubby hands of corrupt cops.

Traffic police were empowered to fine drivers of cars deemed to be dirty, but nobody could agree on how dirty was ‘dirty’. If the number plate was too icky to read? If you could write ‘clean me’ in the grime? If the windows are so thick with muck that you can’t see the driver?

Ultimately the power lay with the cops, so drivers could either accept their vehicle was dirty and pay a fine, or argue and then pay a bribe to be let off. 

Although the statute was only intended to last for a month there are still stories of motorists being pulled over for crud-covered cars and invited to pay cash fines on the spot.

Don’t eat or drink whilst driving - Cyprus

We all know it’s a bad idea to drink and drive. Obviously imbibing alcohol and taking control of a vehicle invites disaster, but many of us are happy to sip a soda or scoff a sandwich whilst at the wheel. This kind of fast food can get you a stiff penalty in Cyprus.

Grabbing a snack whilst speeding along the Mediterranean island’s winding roads can leave a nasty taste in your mouth if you get pulled over by police, or even worse.

Switch your lights on - Sweden

Volvo owners have long been flummoxed by the headlights on their Swedish-made cars. There’s nothing so much wrong with the lamps - they light up the road ahead effectively - it’s more the fact that there is no way to switch them off.

High in the north of Europe, much of Sweden endures long spells of darkness during winter. So perhaps it makes sense for drivers just to leave their headlights on all the time, and this is enshrined in law.

5. Keep your shirt on - Thailand

The roads in Thailand can be pretty hectic, a maelstrom of honking horns and buzzing tuk-tuks angrily bustling through a sea of fumes. Drivers tend to ignore speed limits, stop signs, traffic lights and each other.

The chaos is compounded by one-way streets that switch direction at certain times and drivers who were able to buy their licence without passing any test or undergoing any training.

But it’s good to know that amidst this life-threatening traffic jam, a sense of decorum is maintained. Thai law requires all drivers to wear shirts whilst behind the wheel. This law applies equally to all genders.