Each year, around two million of us jump behind the wheel for a driving trip to another European nation. What’s more, that number is predicted to increase as holidaymakers become more concerned with reducing their carbon footprint.
According to the RAC, three-quarters of Brits are nervous about driving abroad because of the different laws that may apply to the roads.
Little wonder, as there are some particularly unusual driving laws in effect overseas.
Don’t break down on the autobahn
Germany is famous for its autobahns - essentially their motorways - most of which have no speed limits in place.
However, it pays to double check your fuel gauge before entering the autobahn, as it’s illegal to stop unnecessarily - and that includes if you run out of fuel, as this is deemed to be something you can easily prevent.
It’s also worth remembering that passing on the right is strictly against the rules as well - slower vehicles need to move to the right to allow cars that are moving more quickly to pass.
Sweet home Alabama
When was the last time you went for a drive blindfolded? I mean, we’ve all done it, right? No?
Well, seemingly it is a regular enough occurrence in the south of the US that the state of Alabama has seen fit to explicitly outlaw getting behind the wheel with a blindfold on.
Man’s best friend
Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, and take unmistakable joy from sticking their head out of the window of a moving car.
However, the US state of Alaska has a particularly weird law when it comes to dogs and driving. In Sarah Palin’s home state it’s illegal to tie a dog to the roof of your vehicle.
Good to know. Back home, the Highway Code states that animals should be suitably restrained when travelling in a vehicle.
Check for children
If you’re heading off for a drive through Copenhagen or any other Danish location, then it pays to be aware of a rather odd requirement for drivers.
You’re supposed to check for any children hiding beneath the vehicle before firing up the engine. Clearly they take their games of hide and seek pretty seriously.
Keep it clean in Russia
Planning on making the long drive to Russia? If so, make sure you pack a shammy leather - having a vehicle in less than pristine condition can land you a fine.
What’s more, there’s no actual detail on what counts as ‘dirty’ - it’s all up to the individual cop’s discretion. So don’t leave it to chance, and keep your motor spotless.
You’ll lose cash if you splash
There are few things more infuriating in life than when you’re walking down the street and a driver goes through a massive puddle, soaking you in the process.
In Japan it’s explicitly against the law to splash mud or water on pedestrians. What’s more, the fines go up during typhoon season, as there’s more standing water on the roads.
You might be surprised to hear that in the UK it’s also illegal to splash a pedestrian with water from the road. According to law firm Slater and Gordon, in a few cases people have been handed tickets for public order offences after deliberately driving through puddles to target pedestrians.
Always carry a spare
Most motorists are familiar with the idea of always having a spare with them, though that usually refers to a spare wheel. But they take things one step further in Spain, requiring all drivers who wear glasses to keep a spare pair with them, in case the originals get broken or lost in transit.
Pack your own breathalyser
If you’re driving in France, then you are required to pack a host of items in your car. These include your own breathalyser, in case you are pulled over.
Blinded by the lights
If you’re going for a drive through Scandinavia, don’t be surprised to see the car behind you has their lights on even in the middle of the day. It’s a legal requirement to have your lights on at all times, no matter how bright it may be.
No eating or drinking allowed
If you are heading to Cyprus for a bit of sun, then you need to ensure you keep your mealtimes separate from your driving. That’s because it is illegal to eat or drink while you’re behind the wheel - the idea is that this can prove distracting and cause you to react slowly to road conditions. So if you need a swig of water, you’ll need to get off the road first.
In the UK, while it is not an offence in itself to eat while driving, you could commit the offence of driving without due care and attention or not being in proper control of the vehicle.