Planning a road trip abroad? Better brush up on the local traffic laws. One wrong move could send you packing with hundreds of dollars in fines.
While some laws are clear – and similar in most parts of the world – others are rather bizarre. These five weird traffic laws are perfect examples of how traffic laws can easily get lost in translation.
1. Japan – Pedestrian Splashing
The Japanese pride themselves on being polite – which is why it’s illegal to splash pedestrians walking alongside the road. Be extra cautious when driving during or after rainstorms in Japan. Splashing a pedestrian may just get you a slapped with a fine.
Known as “muddy driving,” the citation for this offense comes with a fine of $65.
2. Denmark – Keep Your Lights On
If you’re planning a road trip through Denmark, be sure to keep your lights on – at all times. Neighboring countries, like Sweden, have similar laws that require vehicles to have their lights on no matter the time of day.
The practical law helps prevent accidents in poor visibility conditions, which are common in this part of the world.
3. Italy – Driving in Historic Areas
In Italy’s ancient towns, it’s easy to make one wrong turn and wind up driving in very narrow, cobblestone alleyways. But if you’re in the wrong part of town, that wrong turn could cost you a lot of money in fines.
Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL) laws make it illegal to drive in Italy’s historic zones without a special permit. In some cities, like Florence, several ZTLs connect to one another. A single wrong turn can lead to multiple fines.
Each offense comes with a fine of $75-$120.
4. Germany – No Environmental Tags
Germany enacted strict auto-emission rules in 2010 that require cars to have window stickers when driving in Cologne, Berlin, Munich and several other cities. And this rule applies even if you rented a car from France or another country.
If you rent a car from another country and fail to buy a sticker for your car, you could be slapped with a $60 fine.
5. Turkey – Not Having Emergency Equipment
It’s a good idea to have emergency equipment – like a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit – in the trunk of your vehicle, but in Turkey, it’s the law. If you rented a vehicle from elsewhere, those items may not be in the trunk, and you may be on the hook for a fine.
Similar laws are in place in other parts of Europe.
Failure to have the appropriate emergency equipment can result in a fine of $35.