Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
If you decide to rent a car abroad, then know that driving regulations aren’t going to be the same as they are in your home country. For example, some countries drive on different sides of the roads, whereas others use kilometers instead of miles.
Those laws, for the most part, are somewhat easy to wrap your head around. But there are some more unique regulations that you may need to look out for. Failing to compile with a country’s traffic regulations can result in hefty fines. So if you don’t want to get stopped by foreign police, keep these traffic regulations in mind.
Don’t Splash Pedestrians in Japan
Splashing pedestrians in Japan—especially in Tokyo—is illegal and punishable by a fine. And during the monsoon season, Japanese police are even more strict, stopping drivers for intentionally and unintentionally splashing pedestrians on the sidewalk.
To be honest, I think this should be a law in countries all over the world, so good on Japan for putting it in place.
Honk When Overtaking in New Jersey
In New Jersey, you’re required to honk your horn when you overtake another vehicle on the highway. In other parts of America, like New York City, however, it is illegal to honk your horn unless it’s an emergency.
Wear a Shirt in Thailand
Thailand is hot, sticky, and humid, but that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to drive with your shirt off. Driving with your shirt off, regardless of if you’re a man or a woman, is illegal. So whether you’re in a car, a bus, or a tuk-tuk, keep your shirt on.
Stop for Wildlife in South Africa
South Africa is home to countless wild animals, and if you fail to come to a complete stop if an animal is crossing the road in front of you, you can be fined $500. At the end of the day, your car would be no match for a rhino, so it’s probably best that you leave as much distance between you and them as possible.
Abide by Plate Designated Days in the Philippines
The capital of the Philippines, Manila, especially, has a huge problem with congestion. So to help with this problem, drivers are only allowed to drive on certain days. And how do they decide which day they can drive? Well, the end of your number plate ultimately decides.
For example, if your number plate ends in 1 or 2, then you’re not allowed to drive on Mondays between the hours of 7 am and 7 pm.
Clean Your Car in Russia
Some people take pride in having a clean car, whereas others just…don’t. But in Russia, you can actually be fined $55 if your car is particularly dirty.
Don’t Eat and Drive in Cyprus
In Cyprus, it is illegal to eat while driving—no matter if it is popcorn, french fries, or a burger. The law is in place in order to cut down on distractions while driving.
Be Sure to Pack Your Personal Breathalyzer in France
Did you know that France once had a law stating that you had to carry a breathalyzer with at least two disposable testing units in your car at all times? Although it isn’t a legal requirement to carry one anymore, most—if not all—French residents still keep a breathalyzer in their car just in case.
Carry an Extra Pair of Glasses in Spain
If you need to wear glasses to drive in Spain, then the law requires you to not only wear them but also to carry an extra pair just in case. If you happen to lose or break your glasses, you’ll always have a backup—and that backup can save you from getting fined.
Always Keep Your Headlights on in Sweden
In Sweden, if you’re driving, no matter if it’s 1 am or 1 pm, you’re required to keep your headlights on. It could honestly be the sunniest day Sweden’s ever seen, and you’ll still be required to keep them on.
You Can Turn Right on a Red Light in America
It’s been drilled into us that a red light means stop. That is unless you’re turning right in America. In the US, if the coast is clear and it is safe to do so, you’re allowed to turn right at a red light.
Don’t Stop for Non-Emergencies on Expressways in Germany
On expressways in Germany, it is illegal to stop your car unless you have a genuine emergency. And no, genuine emergencies do not include things like running out of fuel. So always make sure your tank is full before joining a German autobahn.
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