12 Bizarre Traffic Laws
Last Update: 10:13 am
by Holly Rizzo
You can understand why some laws exist: no speeding, don’t run the stop sign, yield to pedestrians. But other laws may leave you scratching your head – right in front of the officer who pulled you over for violating them.
In many states, for example, it’s as possible to earn a ticket for lollygagging to look at the scenery as it is for speeding.
The legal reasoning is that going too slowly impedes traffic.
The reasons behind still other laws have been lost to history, and chances are you can get away with violating them.
In Denver, for example, it’s illegal to drive a black car on Sunday. And in the foggy past, Minneapolis outlawed red cars on Lake Street.
Here are 12 more unusual laws related to cars and driving. But we must warn you: Reading these means you’ll have to answer truthfully when the officer asks “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
1. Honk if you pass
Rural New Jersey might sound like a never-ending New Year’s Eve party if everybody obeyed the law. State law requires drivers to honk the horn when passing another vehicle going in the same direction outside a business or residential district.
However, watch it in Little Rock, Ark., where the law says “no person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9 p.m.”
Honking at sandwich shops is OK in University City, Mo. – so long as you honk in your own car. It’s illegal to honk the horn of someone else’s.
2. Kindly keep your cattle in the car
Hey, city slicker – you’ll have to keep that cow in your vehicle in Topeka, Kan. The city has made it “unlawful for any person to suffer or permit any livestock owned or controlled by such person to run at large, or to drive any herd of cattle, horses, mules or hogs, or any flock of sheep, upon any street in the city.”
3. You’ll need permission to throw that brick
In Mount Vernon, Iowa, you’re not allowed to shoot arrows or throw bricks onto any street or highway without the City Council’s written consent.
4. Clean up your act
In San Francisco, it’s illegal to wipe a vehicle with used underwear and to pile horse manure more than six feet high on any street corner.
5. Unhand that nozzle!
In Oregon and New Jersey, you cannot pump your own gas. Supposedly this practice keeps gasoline prices lower in those states, because insurance costs for gas stations go down if attendants instead of customers pump the gas – but, on the other hand, that attendant must be paid, whereas you pump for free. So the jury’s out on the reasons for this one.
7 More Wacky Laws
6. Animal and vegetable antics
Palm Springs, Calif., forbids anyone from walking a camel down the main street, Palm Canyon Drive, between 4 and 6 p.m.
Hunting from moving vehicles is illegal in several states, including Connecticut and Tennessee, where only whale hunting by that method is allowed.
Thou shalt not sow a vegetable garden in any public street in Chico, Calif. The law, however, does not forbid flower gardens.
7. No pillows on the roadbed
No matter how sleepy you get, you are not allowed to snooze in the middle of any street in Eureka, Calif. Reno, Nev., won’t let you park yourself on a bench or chair in the middle of its roads, either.
As long as we’re on a roll, here are a few more tips to the lawful:
8. Yield to peacocks in Arcadia, Calif.
9. Don’t jump into a passing vehicle in Glendale, Calif.
10. Don’t change clothes in your car at the beach in Destin, Fla.
11. Don’t keep a car door open longer than is necessary in Oregon.
12. Don’t drive through playgrounds in Dublin, Ga.
How serious are they? Serious. Screeching your tires in Derby, Kan., could get you 30 days in Bad Boys’ Bed & Breakfast.
And if you think switching back to a one-horsepower hay-burner might get you away from the long arm of the law, consider this: In Texarkana, Texas, it’s illegal to ride a horse at night without taillights.