What’s the Weirdest Driving Law in Your State?

By: Bridget Clerkin January 4, 2019
Whether outdated, incredibly circumstantial, or just plain weird, this collection of weird driving laws makes you wonder what happened for the law to take effect.
Share This Page
Share Pin It Email Print

Piloting an automobile may be a common practice, but the ability to drive is a privilege, not a right.

And rightfully so. There’s a lot that can go wrong from behind the wheel of a several-ton machine capable of reaching triple-digit speeds, which is why each state has developed any number of rules to govern their roads.

Yet while most regulations were surely made with the best intentions in mind, some driving laws make it hard to tell exactly what legislators were thinking.

Below is a sampling of some of the nation’s most bizarre road rules, whether they made more sense when cars were still competing with horse-drawn buggies for space on the streets—or never made much sense at all.

Alabama

The Blind Boys of Alabama may be one of the state’s finest musical exports, but lawmakers in the Cotton State want to ensure that drivers there are anything but.

One rule explicitly prohibits anyone in the car from obstructing the driver’s view during the ride—including via blindfold—a move that keeps drivers’ eyes on the road but also gives them a distinct advantage in any car-bound game of I Spy.

Alaska

It may seem obvious for any lover of our 4-legged friends, but the Last Frontier State went ahead and made it official, anyway.

Anchorage law prohibits anyone from tying a dog up on the roof of a car, which is bad news for any pup looking to be the next Evel Knievel, but good news for pretty much everyone else.

Arizona

No matter how much you may want to, it’s impossible to go backwards in this life, and one Arizona law codifies that universal truth.

It’s officially illegal in the city of Glendale to drive down a public road in reverse. Whichever direction you choose to drive in private, however, is something the state seemingly leaves up to you.

Arkansas

This one is so weird it needs no pithy introduction: it is illegal in the state of Arkansas to honk one’s horn outside of a sandwich shop after 9 p.m.

So if you feel like rudely demanding better service via car horn, you better show up earlier—or try the pizza place down the street instead.

California

driving in a housecoat

The Golden State is home to some of the most stylish women on the planet, but perhaps that’s only because the law ensures they’re always dressed to impress.

One patently strange—and blatantly sexist—California edict bans women from driving in their “housecoat”—a garment better known in the parlance of our time as a nightgown.

In case you were wondering, there is, of course, no corresponding law for men.

Colorado

Colorful Colorado may take its state nickname more seriously than anywhere else.

One rule in the capital city of Denver states that no black cars shall be driven on Sundays, making the otherwise rainbow-hued streets the cheeriest thing about the end of the weekend.

Connecticut

Speeding is never a good idea, but one rule in the town of New Britain perhaps takes that concept too far.

The statute makes it illegal for a firetruck to surpass the speed of 25 mph, even when responding to an emergency. Maybe the area is just inundated with awesome sprinkler systems?

Delaware

The First State has a strict idea of changing rooms—or, at least, what isn’t considered one.

It is illegal for an individual to change clothing inside of a car (apparently whether or not the vehicle is moving) in the tiny town of Fenwick Island, Delaware.

But as if that wasn’t enough, the municipality also bans individuals from “using toilet facilities” inside of an automobile. Talk about personal freedom infringement!

Florida

Florida is known throughout the country as a bastion of strange. When it comes to driving laws, the Sunshine State surely doesn’t disappoint.

In what can only be described as an attempt to out-fox penny-pinching carnies, Florida law requires a parking meter to be fed even when you’ve used the space to tie up your elephant, alligator, or goat.

Oh, Florida. Keep being you.

Georgia

Balancing public safety against personal freedom is the eternal challenge of any lawmaker, but those struggling with the task should look no further than the Peach State to see how it’s done.

Georgia law prohibits spitting from a car or a bus, but still makes it okay for individuals to spit out from the window of a truck, proving that some people really can have it all.

Hawaii

This Aloha State rule isn’t so much strange as it is baffling.

Hawaii makes it legally okay for anyone over the age of 12 to ride, unsecured, in the back of a pickup truck. The law stipulates that as long as all seats in the cabin are occupied, and those in the back aren’t sitting on the wheel wells, the truck bed is fair game.

Idaho

heart on foggy window

The city of Coeur d’Alene may have penned the most respectful rule in the history of law.

If a police officer suspects that a couple in a car is engaging in any serious physical activity, he or she must honk the horn, flash the lights, then wait 3 minutes before approaching the vehicle in question—a practice that works much better than hanging a tie on a doorknob.

Illinois

Talk about a grand entrance.

In the Illinois city of Joliet, it is illegal to enter the town without first contacting the police. Whether this has to do with the on-the-lam Blues Brothers is unknown.

Indiana

Crushing the dreams of fun-lovers everywhere—or, at least, everywhere within state borders—Indiana goes out of its way to ban a cliché/classic move of those wishing to express their joy from an automobile.

The law of the land in the city of South Bend prohibits anyone from sticking their head—or even arm—from outside of a sunroof. Residents here will just have to stick to loudly singing along to the radio instead.

Iowa

In the town of Tiffin, it is unlawful to throw bricks or stones or shoot arrows into the direction of the road—that is, of course, unless you have written permission, proving once again that it’s always better to ask before doing.

Kansas

Derby, Kansas may share its name with a famous race in Kentucky, but you could be legally punished for acting like you’re driving in one here.

It’s against the law to screech your tires while in town—an aural act that could cause any perpetrator to shriek themselves when issued the accompanying hefty fine.

Kentucky

dog in car weirdest driving laws

Dogs are famous for chasing cars, but what happens once Fido finally catches one?

The lawmakers of Fort Thomas, Kentucky aren’t taking any chances: it is illegal here for a dog to molest a vehicle. Just another reason to keep your furry friend on a leash.

Louisiana

Another stand-out statute in the annals of sexist driving laws is one New Orleans-based regulation ensuring everyone will know when a woman is behind the wheel.

According to the law, it’s required for the husband of any lady driver to walk in front of the female-piloted vehicle waving a flag, making for a parade precession even sadder than the city’s famed funeral marches.

Maine

America may run on Dunkin, but Maine drivers must run from any Dunkin-adjacent parking.

It is officially against the law in the town of South Berwick to park in front of a Dunkin Donuts, apparently because the act is considered a compromise of prime real estate.

Making the corporate allegiance even more confusing is that the chain was first launched in longtime Maine frenemy state, Massachusetts.

Maryland

Got a case of road rage? Stay away from the city of Rockville.

A local ordinance here bans anyone in town from cursing, swearing, or using otherwise obscene language within hearing distance of passersby on any road, highway, or sidewalk. Angry motorists here are better advised to stick to their horns.

Massachusetts

Did the Red Sox lose? Too many out-of-towner “leafers” causing traffic jams on the ‘pike? Can’t get to the packie because it’s a Sunday and they’re all closed?

There are plenty of things that may make a Bay Stater spitting mad—but they better hope that spit doesn’t hit a public sidewalk. The offense is against the law in the state, coming at the expense of a $20 fine.

Michigan

Talk about fashion roadkill.

The city of Grand Haven makes it illegal for anyone to throw an abandoned hoop skirt into any street or sidewalk, with perpetrators subject to a hefty $5 fine.

No word, however, on what happens if someone throws an occupied hoop skirt onto the road.

Minnesota

dirty tires

Minnesota is famous for its Midwestern manners—and that goes for all vehicles on the road, as well.

Trucks in the town of Minnetonka are banned from driving through town with dirty tires. The act is technically considered a public nuisance, but lawmakers most likely also found it flat-out rude.

Mississippi

Anyone who ever considered a quickie Vegas wedding may want to seriously look into changing their travel plans.

An old law in the Magnolia State declares that any opposite-sex couple driving here while both individuals are barefoot are legally considered married—no ring, ceremony, or expensive outfits necessary.

Missouri

Of all the strange horn-related laws on this list, this one at least takes personal responsibility into account.

The town of University City, Missouri makes it unlawful to honk the horn of someone else’s car—that is, of course, unless you have the owner’s permission.

Montana

sheep in truck weirdest driving laws

Straight from the files of “In what way did this ever make sense?” comes one Montana state law barring anyone from transporting a sheep in the back of their truck without a chaperone.

Appropriately accompanied ovine are apparently a-ok with legislators, however, so anyone planning on traveling with their wooly friend should be advised to find a babysitter.

Nebraska

The Cornhusker State could be the poster child for preparation at any cost.

An edict here calls for all drivers to proceed with caution and stick to the right along mountain roads, which sounds fair enough, until further investigation reveals that exactly zero mountain roads exist in Nebraska.

Still, one couldn’t fault lawmakers here for keeping an open mind.

Nevada

We can only assume that this one stems from strange situations past in Las Vegas.

The Silver State has a law on the books making it officially illegal to “drive” a camel down the highway, which is really too bad, since the animals serve other desert areas around the world so well.

New Hampshire

We thought it was a pretty universally agreed-upon fact that tail pipe emissions were a bad thing, but New Hampshire had to come right out and say it.

Apparently, enough people here found bus fumes enjoyable enough that the state had to ban the inhalation of the gasses with the intent of deriving euphoria. Talk about a buzz kill.

New Jersey

Garden State residents aren’t exactly known for their rosy attitudes—especially when on the road—but many of them may be breaking the law without even knowing it.

A statute here makes it illegal for drivers to frown at police officers, meaning nearly everyone who’s ever been pulled over in New Jersey could be issued a ticket.

New Mexico

The Land of Enchantment is serious about its magic image, which may be why it tries to stop humans here from mucking up the place.

It’s unlawful for anyone in New Mexico to spit on the roadway, an act that’s considered a petty misdemeanor here.

New York

ice cream truck weirdest driving laws

It’s essentially a rite of passage to chase down the summertime siren song of the ice cream truck, imploring the driver to pull over in order to secure your sweet treat. But in New York, it’s illegal for anyone to sell ice cream out of the vehicles without first being lawfully pulled over and parked.

This once again most likely means that someone in summers past failed to do so, and we can’t help but laugh at the thought of Mr. Softee hurling his fudgecicles out the window at unsuspecting victims—go ahead and call us terrible people.

North Carolina

If this law were to be floated today, it may well be tagged as unfriendly toward small business innovation.

But as it stands, it remains illegal in North Carolina to use an elephant to plow a cotton field, leaving modern-day farmers with the decidedly less-awesome option of tractors and other farm equipment.

North Dakota

So much for paying your dues.

Apparently, North Dakota gets really finicky not just about whether drivers pony up at automatic parking ticket machines, but exactly how they choose to feed the meter.

Putting a penny into the machines is against the law here, despite the fact that the 1-cent pieces are, as far as we know, still legal tender.

Ohio

filling up at a gas station

Make sure you fill up the tank before driving through the Buckeye State city of Youngstown—just in case.

Motorists here are forbidden from running out of gas, making Youngstown the best friend ExxonMobile never knew it had.

Oklahoma

Distracted driving may be an increasing issue on the roads, but one Sooner State statute takes the idea to heroic lengths.

It’s specifically illegal in Oklahoma to read a comic book while driving—presumably no matter how good the story gets.

Oregon

Littering may be against the law in many states, but Oregon takes the concept of depositing waste to a whole other level.

It’s against the law in the Beaver State to leave urine or fecal matter on the side of the road—so if you’re feeling the urge and you’re really desperate, there’s a whole other reason to stay far away from prying eyes.

Pennsylvania

Night driving is a hassle for so many reasons, but those bent on following the letter of the law in the Keystone State may find themselves really put out.

Pennsylvania regulations stipulate that anyone traveling by car at night must stop every mile to set off flares or other warning devices, then wait at least 10 minutes for all livestock to clear the road.

The cows may appreciate it, but anyone hoping to get anywhere on time certainly won’t.

Rhode Island

This list has so far featured laws specifically set against certain genders or colors, but Rhode Island marks the first state with regulations that are biased against specific foods.

It is officially unlawful in the Ocean State for anyone to throw pickle juice on a trolley. While the measure was likely meant to protect the riders of public transportation, we here at DMV.ORG humbly suggest that it is an affront to anyone wishing to spread the word of one of the world’s most delicious snacks.

South Carolina

There are many reasons to be mindful of your vehicle’s hygiene, and in South Carolina, the law is one of them.

The town of Maudlin prevents people from stockpiling too much trash in their vehicles. But the code doesn’t stop there—it specifically states that the legal definition of “too much trash” means any amount that could provide food or shelter for feral rats.

South Dakota

keys outside car weirdest driving laws

DUIs are never acceptable, but one South Dakota statute attempts to stop the crime before it can even start.

It’s not unheard of in the Mount Rushmore State for would-be motorists to get arrested simply for holding their keys outside of a vehicle while intoxicated. Maybe the law here should officially be changed from DUI to HKUI?

Tennessee

How any family decides to celebrate—or not—a religious holiday is a deeply personal affair. But Tennessee legally rules out at least one option for Christian parents on Easter.

The state bars parents of the faith from making their children pick up trash on the highway on the holy day. Whether Easter eggs are legally considered “trash,” however, remains unclear.

Texas

The Lone Star State may be a freewheeling place for businesses, but not the same can be said when it comes transportation opportunists.

Texas makes it illegal for any roller skater, bicycler, sled rider, or toy vehicle to hitch a ride on the back of a regular car—making the streets safer, sure, but much less interesting.

Utah

Like to show off your bicycling skills? Keep away from the Beehive State.

Utah state code requires riders of bikes and mopeds to keep at least 1 hand directing the vehicle at all times, meaning that sweet move of juggling flaming bowling balls while riding around can’t be used to impress your crush anytime soon. They’re called handlebars for a reason, y’all.

Vermont

giraffe weirdest driving laws

The Green Mountain may be better known for its cows, but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers there from looking out for other members of the animal kingdom.

An old law on record in Vermont prohibits residents from tying up their giraffe to a telephone poll.

The regulation may sound like common sense, but we here at DMV.ORG humbly ask, how else are giraffe owners supposed to ensure their beloved pets don’t stray while they’re picking something up at the store?

Virginia

Yellow is traditionally the color of caution—and anyone with an affinity for it in Virginia better proceed with some.

The state for lovers prohibits any vehicle that’s not a school bus from donning the cheerful hue. Presumably, the law is intended to help students better judge a vehicle by its color.

Washington

Hugging it out may be a nobly violence-free solution to any number of problems, but in the state of Washington, road rage better not be one of them.

It’s against the law for motorists here to be engaged in an embrace that would prohibit him or her from moving freely or operating the vehicle. Affectionate passengers hoping to obey the law will have to find another way to express their roadway affection.

West Virginia

The Mountain State puts a whole new spin on the idea of roadside food.

West Virginia politicians have cleared the way here for people to legally collect—and cook—roadkill, provided the individual alerts authorities within 12 hours of scooping the animal up off the road.

At least you can’t beat the cost?

Wisconsin

Full of gently rolling hills and lush green forests, Wisconsin has some of the country’s most beautiful areas for camping.

But anyone hoping to spend some time in the great outdoors here should be warned that camping in a wagon on any public highway is illegal—with violators risking a whopping $10 fine. It’s unclear whether the law includes wagons of the station variety, or strictly sticks to those that were pulled by oxen or horses.

Wyoming

Leaving doors open may be considered bad manners, but in Wyoming, it’s considered illegal.

The cowboy state makes it against the law for anyone to leave open the door of a fence that crosses a road, stream, or ditch—at penalty of a $750 fine. Just don’t hit your you-know-what on the way out.

Recent Articles