I have had the privilege of living in several states.
And the even greater privilege of driving in many cities around the country – Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and 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:
It is illegal, for example, to run out of gas in Youngstown, OH.
Using your vehicle on an Oregon highway to prove your physical endurance, through, say, a foot race, 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.
If you need a taxi in New Mexico, you absolutely MUST hail it yourself, because it is illegal for cab drivers to reach out and pull potential customers into their vehicles.
In Alabama, it’s illegal to drive while blindfolded. Hmm. Who’d a thunk?
While residents 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. 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.
Animals are an interesting topic. For example, riding a camel on the highway in Nevada is against the law. And to protect livestock that may be wandering Pennsylvania country roads, you must stop every mile to set off warning signals. The signals then must be followed by a 10-minute waiting period, allowing said livestock to clear the road. In Utah, birds always have the right of way.
And 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, rest assured it is not because your lawmakers have failed to approve some equally bizarre rules. I have just exhausted my word count for today.
So, until next time, safe driving. And remember, it’s illegal to play in the street in North Carolina.