20 Strange Motoring Rules Abroad to Catch British Drivers Unprepared
If you’re taking your car away with you this year, take time to research the motoring requirements of the place you’re visiting and make sure you purchase the appropriate equipment.

You’ll probably need headlamp converters if you’re driving to the continent, along with a warning triangle and reflective vest. If you’re using a satnav, be sure to deactivate the function which shows you where speed cameras are located, as in some countries, these are illegal.

In addition to the more obvious rules of the road, here's some obscure motoring laws from around the globe that could catch British drivers out:

High Viz vests

High Viz vests

The latest research shows hundreds of British motorists have been stopped and fined by French police for not carrying a high visibility jacket in their car.

The law is designed to protect drivers who break down and was introduced in October 2008. Even drivers who carried the jackets in the boot of their car were given an on-the-spot 90 euro fine because rules state that the jackets should be stowed in the passenger compartment.

Driving abroad can be difficult enough, with motorists having to adjust to different sides of the road or foreign vehicles, let alone some strange customs.

Watch out for pedestrians in Japan

Watch out for pedestrians in Japan

No one likes to be splashed by a muddy puddle from passing cars but in Japan this is actually illegal. In a traditional display of Japanese courtesy, it’s against the law to splash mud or water on a pedestrian.

Did you know it’s illegal to stop for pedestrians in Beijing?

Did you know it’s illegal to stop for pedestrians in Beijing?

In Beijing, China, the law protecting pedestrians is much less courteous. So much so that it’s illegal to stop for them; this makes crossing the road something of a hazard.

In South Africa, it’s not just pedestrians that drivers need to be aware of

In South Africa, it’s not just pedestrians that drivers need to be aware of

Animals are given as much right to the roads as drivers with motorists facing stiff fines if they fail to slow or stop for passing herds of all sorts of livestock.

It's illegal for anyone to walk or stop a vehicle on the autobahn

It's illegal for anyone to walk or stop a vehicle on the autobahn

If you’ve driven in Germany then you’ll know that much of the autobahn network – their equivalent of our motorway – has no speed limit. As a result it’s been made illegal for anyone to walk or stop a vehicle on the autobahn. This seems fair enough but even running out of petrol won’t cut it with German law.

Travelling topless in Thailand is a no-no

Travelling topless in Thailand is a no-no

Fair enough, you might think, but this applies to men too and all motorists, whether it’s bike, car or Tuk Tuk. A small penalty can be issued if you can’t stand the heat and need to shed a layer.

Historic zones in certain Italian cities are subject to a special permit

Historic zones in certain Italian cities are subject to a special permit

Drivers who ignore this can face a hefty fine.

In Turkey it’s all about safety

In Turkey it’s all about safety

Drivers must carry a fire extinguisher, reflective triangle and first-aid kit. Failure to do so may result in a police fine.

And now we get to the downright ridiculous

  • In Australia it is illegal to leave keys in an unattended vehicle
  • San Salvador, drunk drivers can be punished by death before a firing squad
  • Utah, birds have right of way on any public highway
  • Thailand, it’s illegal to drive a car if you’re not wearing a shirt
  • Alabama, it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle
  • France, all drivers are required to carry a breathalyser
  • Scandinavia, it is illegal to drive without headlights, even in daylight
  • Spain, if you need to wear glasses, you are required to carry an additional pair when driving
  • Germany, it is illegal to drive without Winter tyres at certain times of the year
  • Belarus, it is illegal to drive a dirty car
  • Spain, in some cities, cars must be parked on different sides of the road according to the day of the week
  • Serbia, compulsory equipment to be held by driver includes a tow bar and 3m rope
  • Russia, it is forbidden to pick up hitchhikers

In Alaska it’s illegal to tie a dog to the roof of your vehicle

In Alaska it’s illegal to tie a dog to the roof of your vehicle

Perhaps the abundance of sledding dogs makes this necessary but it’s one of the more bizarre laws out there.

Drivers in Denmark have to perform an unusual ritual before getting behind the wheel

Drivers in Denmark have to perform an unusual ritual before getting behind the wheel

Law states that they must check for children who may be hiding underneath, before setting off. it's actually quite a sensible law!

And in Moscow it’s all about cleanliness; police impose fines on anyone with a dirty vehicle

And in Moscow it’s all about cleanliness; police impose fines on anyone with a dirty vehicle

There’s no definition for dirty – it’s up to the officer, so if in Russia it’s best to keep your motor looking tip-top to avoid a penalty.

Driving in Saudi Arabia can be hassle-free if you’re a man

Driving in Saudi Arabia can be hassle-free  if you’re a man

But for women, getting behind the wheel is illegal and can result in arrest and even deportation.

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