The A-to-Z of eye-catching motoring laws

Motorists in Japan are preparing for a radical change to how they drive, after the country approved a law which will allow rear-facing cameras to be used in place of mirrors on cars.

It isn’t the first time that cameras have become an intriguing talking point in the motoring industry. Only last year, the Samsung Safety Truck took to the roads — complete with a front-facing wireless camera. This device connected up with a video wall designed onto the back of the truck and allowed drivers behind the truck to see what was happening on the road ahead before they attempted to overtake.

This news has led van leasing specialists Northgate to investigate what are the most eye-catching motoring laws enforced across the world. Here’s what they found:

Austria’s strict drink-drive limits

Austria’s approach to drink-drive limits is much different to other countries, they have reduced their limit to just 0.1 for drivers who have had their driving license for less than two years. This could be something that the rest of the world could take on board in order to reduce drink-driving related incidents.

Britain’s approach to noise prevention

Thanks to the ever changing technologies out there, more and more cars are now being designed with stop/start technology whereby the engine will switch off when the vehicle is stationary in order to save fuel. However, what you might not know is that the law requires all drivers to switch off their engines when stationary under certain conditions.

The full law, as set out in the The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, outlines: “The driver of a vehicle shall, when the vehicle is stationary, stop the action of any machinery attached to or forming part of the vehicle so far as may be necessary for the prevention of noise.”

China says no to stopping for pedestrians

There is a law in Beijing which states that it is illegal for drivers to stop for pedestrians — the message to look both ways before crossing the road has never been so important!

Denmark’s pre-drive ritual

In Denmark, there is a law which states that drivers must check under their vehicle to ensure children aren’t hiding underneath before setting off.

Estonia’s drivers need for wheel chocks

It is a legal requirement for drivers to carry two wheel chocks with them when driving in Estonia at all times.

French drivers encouraged to take a breath

In France, all drivers must carry a breathalyzer kit with them in their vehicles. This could also be something that other countries could learn from in order to battle against the drink-driving related incidents which occur each year due to drink driving.

Germany lets drivers loose on the autobahn

The majority of Germany’s autobahn — the country’s equivalent of a motorway — has no speed limit enforced. In fact, it is illegal to stop or break down for any reason on this stretch of road.

Hackney carriages requirements in Britain

Do you drive a Hackney carriage in Britain? According to the law, you should be carrying a bale of hay and a bag of oats with you at all times.

Italy’s zono traffic limitato areas

A handful of cities in Italy have areas which are referred to as ‘zono traffic limitato’. These zones can only be driven around if you have a special permit, as they are there to protect the country’s spectacular historical sites.

Japan’s stance against splashing pedestrians

It is very likely that you would have been splashed at least once as a result of a passing vehicle driving through a muddy puddle. In Japan though, it is illegal for motorists to splash mud or water onto a pedestrian.

Know your distance when driving in Singapore

Don’t get too close to pedestrians when driving in Singapore. This is because it is against the law for a driver to come within 50 metres of a passer-by when they are behind the wheel.

Luxembourg’s love for windshield wipers

All cars in Luxembourg must have windshield wipers — which is the case even for vehicles that don’t have a windshield.

Manila’s strict rules about number plates

Does your number plate end in either a number 1 or 2? If it does, then you won’t be allowed to drive your car on Mondays in Manila.

Norway says lights on all the time

In Norway, it is against the law to drive without your headlights switched on — even during the day. In fact, this is the case across all of Scandinavia.

Objects you need when driving in Serbia

It is a requirement in Serbia to carry a tow bar and rope that is at least three metres in length — at least you’ll be there to offer a helping hand if you see a fellow motorist in distress.

Polish those number plates when driving across the UK

As per the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001, it is an offence to drive a vehicle that has a dirty number plate in the UK.

Quench your thirst only once you’ve stopped driving in Cyprus

Drivers are not allowed to eat or drink anything while they are driving in Cyprus — even water is banned as part of this law.

Russia says no to dirty cars

In Russia, you are at risk of being fined if you drive around in a dirty car. What counts as dirty is to the discretion of the officer, so it’s best to keep your vehicle as clean as possible at all times.

South Africans encouraged to share the road with animals

You could be slapped with a hefty fine if you fail to slow or stop for passing herds of livestock when driving around South Africa.

Turkey gives the thumbs up to safety

If you go for a drive in Turkey, you must ensure that you have a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit and a reflective triangle with you. Fail to do so and the police can fine you.

UK drivers not to give away an upcoming speed trap

As per Section 51 of The Police Act 1964, it is against the law to warn oncoming traffic that they are about to drive through a speed trap. The law states that informing fellow motorists results in drivers “obstructing a constable in the execution of his duty”.

Vacate the front seat if you’re under the influence of alcohol in Macedonia

In Macedonia, you cannot sit in the front seats of a vehicle if you are visibly under the influence of alcohol.

Women aren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that still doesn’t allow women to drive when in the country.

X-rated fashion discouraged when driving in Thailand

You are not to travel when topless in Thailand. This is the case for both men and women and is the law whether you drive a car, a bike or even a tuk-tuk.

Your parking could land you in trouble in Spain

Watch out for certain cities in Spain which have a law whereby you must park on the side of the road where houses have uneven numbers during uneven days of the month.

Zero tolerance to forgetting your glasses in Spain too

Staying with Spain, drivers who wear prescription glasses are required to carry an extra pair of glasses in their vehicle at all times.