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10 Weird Driving Laws You May Not Know You Are Breaking

Lyndon Bell
by Lyndon Bell
October 4, 2014
4 min. Reading Time
 Photo by Cheezburger.com

Photo by Cheezburger.com

Here are 10 weird driving laws you may not know you are breaking—every day. Odds are, everyone has done at least one of the things here without realizing they could have been ticketed, or even arrested. Imagine your expression if you got pulled over and cited taking your kids to school in California one morning—for driving while female in a bathrobe.

#1: No Bathrobes in California

Yes, it really is illegal for women to drive in California while wearing a housecoat (AKA a bathrobe). We knew some people in the Golden State are incredibly image conscious, but mandating no women in houseclothes on the roadways? That’s extreme, even for Californians. Fortunately though, so far, there doesn’t appear to be any statutes mandating a perfectly coiffed hairstyle, appropriate accessorization, or full makeup, so no need to worry there.


#2: Pedestrians Must Wear Taillights at Night in Kansas

A Kansas state statute requires pedestrians crossing the highway at night to wear taillights. The statute does not make clear where the taillights should be attached, or whether they should blink “red" if the pedestrian decides to turn left or right. Or illuminate more brightly should they decide to stop for that matter. But, it’s the pedestrian’s obligation to make sure their backside can be seen when  crossing a public street at night—literally.


#3: Drivers Must Shoot Skyrockets in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania law makes it a crime if a motorist—while driving along a country road at night—fails to stop every mile and send up a rocket signal and wait ten minutes for the road to be cleared of livestock before continuing. Obviously, this one goes back to the days of cattle herding, when cars were just starting to be used. So if you live in Pennsylvania, you might want to find a fireworks stand and stock up.


#4: Dismantle Your Car for Horses in Pennsylvania

We don’t meant to pick on the Keystone State, but they really do have some bizarre statutes. Another Pennsylvania law requires any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward them to pull well off the road, cover their car with a blanket or a canvas blending in with the countryside, and allow the horses to pass. If the horses become skittish, the motorist must take their car apart, piece-by-piece and hide under the nearest bushes. Let’s just say in Pennsylvania horse country, it could take a long time to drive home.


#5: Lanterns Needed at Night in Illinois

Imagine being pulled over on Lakeshore Drive in Chicago for this one. It is against the law in Illinois for a motor vehicle to be driven at night without a person preceding it—on foot—with a lantern to warn horses. If you’re going out at night in the Prairie State, you can’t drive alone, and you’d best make sure the lantern flashlight has fresh batteries. Also, you could be cited for driving faster than a person could walk, because your lantern bearer has to be out in front of your car—on foot. Of course, for people in a hurry, this could be a nice side gig for Usain Bolt.


#6: No Spitting in Georgia

So, let’s say you have a bad chest cold involving a lot of coughing, and the upheaval of a great deal of phlegm. Well, in Georgia, you may want to take your truck to work that day, or keep a bucket with you if you are driving or riding a bus. You see, it is illegal to spit from a car or a bus in Marietta, Georgia. It is, however, OK to spit from a truck. So, the law goes spit from a car, or a bus—go to jail. Spit from a truck—all is well. Seems wildly discriminatory to us, but we’re car people who occasionally like taking the bus—so of course we’d feel that way.


#7: No Running out of Gas in Youngstown, Ohio

We’re thinking somebody close to the mayor, or maybe someone on the City Council in this mid-western town must’ve fallen for this classic ploy a few too many times. Why? Well, the law states it is patently illegal to run out of gas in Youngstown, Ohio.  Of course, if your date takes out a smartphone and calls the police on you for "running out of gas," in all probability, you never really had a shot in the first place.


#8: Maintain More than Arm's Length from Alcohol in Texas

In Texas, it’s illegal to drive within arm’s length of alcohol—including alcohol in someone else’s bloodstream. OK, we get the whole open container thing, but how are you going to get to it if it’s in somebody else’s bloodstream—unless you’re one of the cast members of Twilight? It would appear the logic here is to keep intoxicated people as far away from the controls of the car as possible. 


#9: No Driving Black Cars on Sunday in Denver

While the offense of “driving while black” may seem shocking in our modern culture, but it turns out driving while black really is against the law—and can get you pulled over and cited in Denver, Colorado. (Which is really remarkable when you consider the root of the state’s name literally means having color). Before you jump on the phone to the SCLC and the ACLU, know in Denver's case that the city does not condone the driving of black cars on Sunday.


#10: Do Not Pass Silently in Rhode Island

Imagine the din in downtown Providence if everyone adhered to this one. In Rhode Island, it is illegal to pass someone without making an audible noise. Of course, nobody specified what the audible noise should be, so technically all cars are in compliance, since they all make an audible noise. But wait, what if you’re driving a hybrid and it just happens to be running silently in EV mode when you pass an officer? Or even better, what if you’re driving an all-electric Tesla, or a Nissan Leaf? Yes, you’re breaking the law in Rhode Island, and you probably never even knew it.



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