Every country has their own strange cultures and customs. But did you know that this also extends to car maintenance laws? You might be surprised to find out that there’s some pretty strange regulation and legislation controlling the state of your vehicle in far off countries. So in our opinion, what’s the weirdest?
1. Russia – Communist clean sweep
All mechanics love cleaning out their cars, don’t they? Well maintaining the inside of your motor is imperative in good old Russia, as a filthy inside to your vehicle isn’t tolerated. Time to get out the old car vacuum and give the seats a once over. What’s the reason behind this law? Well if you decide to take the dirty license plates off your vehicle, then the police want to make sure you’re not transporting them in your car. The really weird thing however it that it’s also actually illegal to clean your car anywhere other than at home or a garage.
2. Costa Rica – la fumigación
Staying with maintaining the interior of your car, in Costa Rica the authorities are concerned that the upholstery could be harbouring insects. It will cost you about £5 to have the whole car fumigated, and you’ll need the receipt to show to customs. Whilst you could strip out the entire of your car, it’s probably easier to sit in the awful smell of pesticides for a while.
3. San Francisco – don’t get your knickers in a twist
Now moving on to the outside of the vehicle. Everyone knows it’s vital to keep your windows clean and well maintained to ensure that visibility is at a maximum. Dirt could impact your visibility and see you crashing and damaging your vehicle. However, don’t try to get old underwear to do the job of windscreen wipers in San Francisco, because apparently this behaviour is too over the line for the law.
4. Germany – eine kleine drop
Without fuel your car is nothing. Doesn’t matter how well you look after the rest of it. Perhaps that’s why the Germans have made it illegal to travel on the autobahn without a full tank of gas. Failure to keep your car properly topped up with diesel or petrol could land you in a whole heap of trouble, although we’re not quite sure exactly how the limits of this law are enforced.
5. Estonia – chocks away
In Estonia apparently there’s a national fear of worn out brakes. Or at least that’s what one of the strangest laws on this list would suggest. Drivers are required by law to carry two wooden chocks to put under their wheels when parked. Wouldn’t it be simpler to have some kind of law about checking that brakes work, or would that be too easy for the Ex-Soviet Bloc state?
6. Derby, Kansas – screech and spin
Better keep your drive and transmission in good state in Derby, Kansas, as the last thing you want to do in this town is pull a wheel spin. Apparently anyone who can’t tame the power of their engine with some well-timed mechanical maintenance could be in for a bit of a shock. If you screech your tyres when heading away from a junction then your behaviour could earn you 30 days in nick.
7. Denmark – upside down, boy you turn me
In Denmark apparently there’s enough of a problem with people hanging about underneath cars for the authorities to implement a law that requires all drivers to check under the car before making a move. This is probably not a bad idea when you’re at a garage or if someone you know has been working under your car, as the last thing you want to do is run them over in return for their mechanical assistance. It would be a tough crime to hide too… with blood-marked tyre tracks pointing to the scene of the misdemeanour.
8. England – obvious, not obvious
They must think we have some pretty weird car parts in England, because apparently it’s illegal to drive a car when you’re not in the front seat. Quite how this is possible is beyond us, unless you do some kind of Heath Robinsonesque mechanical wizardry to extend the steering column into the back of the car. You’d probably have to do such a job yourself too, as it’s unlikely any car mechanic worth his salt would put his name to such high-jinks.
9. Serbia – tow the line
If you want to stay legal in Serbia then you better get a towbar fitted to your car. Perhaps there’s a load of problems with unattached caravans and trailers getting left all over the place, which need someone to deal with them. No matter what the reasoning is behind this law, you’ll need to get a kit and do a bit of mechanical work on the back of your car if you don’t want a visit from the police.
10. Michigan – it’s all news to me
If you keep your car properly maintained then it’s unlikely you’ll have a breakdown. However, if you’re one of those people who always runs their vehicle with one red light on then you better not splutter to a stop in Michigan. Why not? Because if you do suffer from a failure then it’s illegal to stop in the middle of the road and read a newspaper. Better hope your phone battery is fully charged.
11. Luxembourg – wipe you out
As a motorist, it is essential to keep your windscreen wipers in good condition. In Luxembourg you have to do this whether or not you have a windscreen. Even if you have no glass in the front of your car, it’s illegal to not keep your wipers in good working order. So in this small city state, failing to have the tools to keep a clear vision from the driver’s seat will see you in trouble with the law.
Finally we’re off to Scandinavia. It’s essential in this Northern region to keep your lights in working order, because even in the day time you have to have the old beams switched on. Even in a heatwave or bright sunlight. Of course, if you don’t keep your lights well maintained then you could find yourself getting screwed in a court of law.