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Weird Traffic Laws

Jesse McGraw

No windshields, shooting flares every mile, and no honking after 9PM? There are some weird traffic laws out there. Here’s a few you may have not known.

This Has to be a Joke, Right?

Have you ever been pulled over and the officer’s reasoning sounds absurd? Sometimes traffic laws seem odd, are common sense, or a little overbearing, but there’s some laws that take it to another level. We found some weird traffic laws from around the United States that may make you wonder how or why they got approved in the first place.

Windshields Aren’t Required – Wipers Are Though

Driving without a windshield - Ben Anton on YouTube.com
Driving without a windshield - Ben Anton on YouTube.com

In Texas, their vehicle requirements do not state that having a windshield is required. So, you could rip off the windshield on your Jeep Wrangler and look like a modern-day Volkswagen Thing if you wanted. However, once you put that windshield back on, working windshield wipers are required on the vehicle by law. Kind of an interesting loophole if you wanted to save money on replacing wipers, but they’re not that expensive and having a windshield will keep the bugs out of your teeth.

Obey the Speed Limit – Even if You’re Driving to a Fire

Fire truck in front of a Fire Department building
Fire truck in front of a Fire Department building

In New Britain, Connecticut, it is illegal for fire trucks to exceed the speed limit of 25 miles per hour. I mean if they aren’t in an emergency then they should probably go the speed limit, but this speed limit is for all times and instances. So, if you’re across town in New Britain with a burning building, the firefighters will be leisurely driving to reach the fire. The town is only about 7 miles long from its furthest points, but it’s still a fire and every second counts.

Shoot a Flare Every Mile

Country road in farmland
Country road in farmland

This weird traffic law from Pennsylvania states “Any motorist driving along a country road at night must stop every mile and send up a rocket signal, wait 10 minutes for the road to be cleared of livestock, and continue.” That’s a lot of flare guns and wasted time to just take a country road at night. I get that it’s to prevent motorists from hitting any loose farm animals, but going the speed limit with your headlights on should suffice. The law is pretty outdated and isn’t really enforced in the state, but if you really want to try out a flare gun in Pennsylvania, this law is your chance.

14 Year Olds Can Cruise by Themselves

Young teen driving a vehicle
Young teen driving a vehicle

This wasn’t really odd to me growing up in South Dakota, but to everyone else in America it sounds pretty absurd. At age 14 you can get your learners permit and then after six months without incident you can get a restricted driver’s license. This allows basically middle schoolers to drive themselves wherever they want from the hours of 6AM to 10PM. It’s not completely uncommon to see something like a Ford F-150 pull up to a stoplight with a scrawny kid peeking his head over the steering wheel in South Dakota.

No Honking After 9PM Near Restaurants

Driver honking their car horn
Driver honking their car horn

This weird traffic law comes from Arkansas, where it officially states “No person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9 p.m.” It wasn’t created to protect restaurant goers from having their meals interrupted, but instead came about due to the fast-food industry. In the early days of fast-food, curb service was all the rage. Think Sonic, but without the fancy push to talk button. Customers would instead honk their horns in order to get the attention of attendants and place an order. Obviously, surrounding homes were kept up from the constant honking of cars throughout the night. In 1938, the law was introduced and still exists to this day in both Little Rock and Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Drivers Must Stay to the Right on Mountain Highways

Winding mountain road
Winding mountain road

This traffic law states “The driver of a motor vehicle traversing defiles, canyons, or mountain highways shall hold such motor vehicle under control and as near the right-hand side of the highway as reasonably possible…” Now this weird traffic law doesn’t sound too odd in comparison to others on this list, it actually sounds pretty reasonable since that’s how all roads work here in America. However, it’s here on the list because of its location. Nebraska is notoriously one of the flattest states in America. Their highest natural point is Panorama Point sitting at 5,429 feet above sea level and it resides on a minor incline in the middle of a field. Nebraska residents hardly have to worry about curving cliff side highways, so it almost feels like they may have cheated off one of their mountainous neighbors’ papers when it comes to traffic laws.

Drivers Can’t Pump Their Own Gas

Gas station attendant putting gas into a vehicle
Gas station attendant putting gas into a vehicle

Ever watched a classic sitcom where a gas station attendant comes up and tops off the tank for one of the main characters? Well, that trend hasn’t died off everywhere in America. In both New Jersey and Oregon, there isn’t just a gas station attendant, but it’s a fineable offence to pump your own gas. While that may seem like an odd enforcement to drivers from other states, residents in New Jersey and Oregon haven’t known anything else. It was originally instituted in 1951 citing safety concerns, better treatment of seniors and the disabled, and the creation of jobs. In recent years, Oregon updated their law allowing smaller populated areas to let drivers pump their own gas. Some Oregonians were outraged by the change since they’ve never had to pump their own gas before, but welcome to the 21st century.

No Throwing Stuff onto the Highway – Unless You Have Permission

Boy aiming a Nerf gun at a target
Boy aiming a Nerf gun at a target

This weird traffic law from Iowa states “It is unlawful for a person to throw stones, bricks, or missiles of any kind or to shoot arrows, paintballs, rubber guns, slingshots, air rifles, BB guns, or other dangerous instruments or toys on or into any street, alley, highway, sidewalk, public way, public ground, or public building, without written consent of the Council.” Makes sense at first. You don’t want to damage vehicles or hurt anyone traveling on the road, but the mention of missiles feels a little out of place amongst stones and paintballs. Then the mention of toys makes it a crime for kids to have nerf guns at the public playground or even on the sidewalk right outside their home. At least you can still get permission to use your missiles and nerf guns before directing them at roadways.

No Driving While Blindfolded

Driver's eyes being covered by passenger
Driver's eyes being covered by passenger

I mean this one should be pretty self-explanatory unless you’re doing a magic or stunt show for an audience. This weird traffic law from Alabama doesn’t actually say to “not use a blindfold”, but instead makes it illegal to obstruct the view of the driver to the front or sides. So, if you have an overfilled car of people or an unruly passenger covers up your eyes, you and your passengers could be fined.

Keep That Mud Off the Road

Pickup covered in mud
Pickup covered in mud

This last weird traffic law comes from Minnetonka, Minnesota. If you were to take a Toyota Tacoma mudding and then drive down a street in Minnetonka, you could face fines of up to $2,000. Any vehicle wheels or tires that deposit mud, dirt, sticky substances, litter, or leaves any other material on any street or highway is considered a public nuisance. Since snow isn’t uncommon there, I wonder if that packed ice that gets stuck to the wheel well would be considered as “other material” if it falls off.

Do you know of any other weird traffic laws? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jesse McGraw
Jesse McGraw

Jesse's life-long car obsession began when he started collecting Hot Wheels as a child. He’s constantly keeping up with the latest car news and diving deep into automotive history. His automotive journey began with a rusty ‘99 Dodge Dakota held together by zip ties, only recently replaced by an impeccable 2014 Kia Soul. You can find him modifying and racing cars in video games when he’s not playing paintball or writing about cars.

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