Article: 25 of the Most Outrageous Traffic Laws by State: HowStuffWorks
25 of the Most Outrageous Traffic Laws by State
By: Teresa McGlothlin
Image: Rapeepong Puttakumwong / Moment / Getty Images
About This Article
Have you ever seen a strange sign hanging in a store window that made you wonder what happened to cause a need for the sign in the first place? Signs like, "No alpacas allowed on the tables after 3 p.m.?" Well, some state driving laws are the very same thing! Some state driving laws are so outlandish that you'll have to read about them to believe them.
One of the U.S. states forbids those over the age of 88 from driving a motorcycle, and another has outlawed the ice cream man. While some of these laws have been on the books since books were created and driving was a new concept, others are based on some sort of rational thought. Across the country, there are enough strange laws to fill up the state of Texas, but we'll stick to the rules of the road for now. You'll want to know them before decide to change your clothes in your car in Delaware!
Many of the rules should seem like common sense, but some of them make no sense at all! Before you get in trouble for sticking your head out the sunroof or getting a hug while driving, make sure you know what kind of state you're dealing with. We think you'll agree that they are thought-provoking rules. Or will you?
Don't forget to chaperone your sheep!
"Shaun the Sheep" must have set a bad example for sheep, because a Montana law says you cannot leave them alone in your truck. It's OK to have them properly secured in the back; just don't put them in the cab and leave them there while you pay for gas. Who knows what they might do! They could start a high-speed chase, or they could protest a wool factory after a wild night at a vegan cafe. It could be a disaster! Thank goodness Montana has protected us from ever needing to find out.
You can honky tonk, but you can't honky honk after 9 PM.
You're hangry and you want the drive-thru line to move! Before you slam on your horn like Betty White needing a Snickers, make sure you're not in Little Rock or Fort Smith, Arkansas. It's unclear whether honking at other places is forbidden, but you can't get honk happy at any establishment that serves food after 9 p.m. Doing so could get you a handsome fine of $350 — probably a picture on some weird Wall of Shame, too.
If you wake up early enough to have coffee, you should be fine.
Maybe you woke up late and you had to hurry to get to the drop off lane on time, or maybe you were out of coffee and you needed a nap during the morning commute. It's happened to the best of us! Most states are sympathetic to the daily dilemmas of modern life, but watch your step in California. California has the audacity to outlaw both taking a nap on a roadway and wearing a dressing gown while driving. It's like they don't think we're human at all!
Remember, kids. It takes fewer muscles to smile.
When we tell you that you need to smile in New Jersey, we are not talking about smiling for the "Jersey Shore" cameras. Whether you're getting a speeding ticket or paying your fine for knitting while fishing, New Jersey demands that you never, ever frown at a police officer. Use this information as you will, but now you know how to prepare yourself for a trip down the turnpike. We suggest having someone pinch you while you try to giggle; it's basically the same thing.
Don't be a potato! Report all the elderly outlaws you see.
When you're on your way to stay in Idaho's giant potato Airbnb, keep your eyes peeled for elderly persons on motorcycles. Idaho considers them and their 23 mph riding one of the biggest threats on the road. Grandpa might think that being 93 gives him the right to do whatever he wants, but the Gem State disagrees. It's illegal for anyone over the age of 88 to put on their leather jackets and ride.
Your dog can go for a ride, but never on the woof!
Every year, hundreds of people move to Alaska to go off-grid, shirk the rules and live off the land. Before you pull up stakes and take the pilgrimage yourself, properly secure your dog inside the vehicle, please. Dogs are a big part of Alaskan life, and they can ride anywhere they want inside your car. No matter how much they beg you, you may not allow them to ride on the top of your car, though. You can end up with jail time for it!
Silly drivers! Cemeteries are for bodies.
You have to do what you have to do when you're dumping a body! Thankfully, there's a North Carolina law that says you can legally drive in a cemetery while getting rid of the evidence. At least you won't face a fine for that, right? Don't get too arrogant or fond of the scenic view, though. Taking a joy ride through a cemetery in a car or on an ATV is punishable by a fine, or jail time, or both.
Stay clothed, and keep your limbs to yourself!
We're hoping you weren't going to pawn your prosthetic arm or leg while you're in Delaware. If you are going to ignore our warning and insist on breaking the law for a few bucks, you might as well break another one while you're at it. When you're readying your limb for its new home, go on and change your clothes inside your car, too. You'll rack up a rap sheet that would make a hardened criminal fear you!
Sir, you'll have to pay extra for that alligator.
Have you ever seen a sign that makes you wonder what may have happened that caused a need for a sign in the first place? This Florida law is just like that! You already know that you have to feed parking meters when you park, but Florida takes it one step further. Should you decide to leave your alligator, your elephant or your giraffe in the space next to you, you'll have to pay for their spot as well. No exceptions!
Nothing is more embarrassing than starting a stampede.
You wouldn't want to be known as the person who started a horse stampede, would you? Thankfully, Mississippi has encouraged you to avoid such things by creating a law against honking your horn in the town of Oxford. There's a famous equine center there, and the town demands a peaceful life for its four-hoofed residents. Startling them could cause a real problem!
Pew, pew, pew! It's the polite thing to do.
Even Dorothy and Toto can tell you that there's no place like Kansas, but before you make your way to Wichita, there's one law you need to know about. When you drive up to the intersection of Douglas and Broadway, you must stop, exit your vehicle and fire three shots into the air. This extra-courteous gesture is on the books because it's a safe way to let others know you're preparing to cross. Or so they say.
Some laws are made to be broken.
Have you been looking for a way to get out of all those Georgia speeding tickets? The answer to your problems is only an election campaign away! If you're a member of the state's assembly, you cannot be ticketed for speeding while the assembly is in session. No one is supposed to be above the law in the United States, but Georgia begs to differ!
You can't move cars with your mind, you know?
If Illinois were to change its nickname, it would no longer be The Prairie State. It would be The State of Strange Laws! Though most of them are limited to small towns throughout the state, one statewide law takes the crazy cake. Whatever you do when driving there, don't leave home without your steering wheel. It's illegal to drive a car without one.
Driving in Tennessee is a whale of a tale.
You know those mornings when you wake up and you think "I really should go hunting from my Prius today?" We sure do! When you decide to skip the day job and act on the urge, don't go to Tennessee! Hunting is a popular sport there, but hunting from your vehicle is strictly prohibited. You can hunt from a tree stand, the ground or a boat, but your car is off-limits. It's totally legal to hunt the elusive Tennessee whale, though. We're calling shotgun!
Get ahead by keeping your head — it's the Indiana way.
Indiana doesn't want you to take any chances by sticking your head out of your sunroof! You're perfectly free to stick your arms, your elbows or even your foot out, but heads must stay inside the ride at all times. We're still working out the logistics about how you could have your melon sticking out of the car and your foot on the gas pedal. We're sure they've thought it through, though.
Excuse me, ma'am ... kickstands were not made for that.
Seeing the United States on the back of a Harley is an experience like no other! Kentucky has fairly average traffic laws for motorcycles, but they have one that you need to be aware of before you stop in London. Should you and your bike mate start feeling a little frisky, you're going to have to get off of your bike. Having sex on a motorcycle is an offense that comes with a ticket and possible jail time!
Louisiana is tough on toddler crime!
There are more Lime Bikes around New Orleans than ever before! If you decide to rent one to ride around the French Quarter, make sure you keep both hands on the handles. Louisiana law insists that bikers must never steer with only one hand, but it's not limited to just two-wheeled cycles. Toddlers driving their cute, pink tricycles with one hand while eating an ice cream cone with the other can get in big-time trouble, too.
When in doubt, don't spit it out.
If you're taking a ride through Goodyear, Arizona, we don't recommend trying a new drink. Should you decide you hate it and you want to spit it out, you could get in big trouble there! Even if the bleu cheese-flavored green tea energy drink you bought at the last gas station takes like the bottom of an old shoe, it's illegal to spit anything on a highway or a sidewalk. You may want to carry a barf bag. You know, just in case!
No one gets between Maine and its Dunkin!
For the most part, Maine seems like a fairly reasonable state. There are not a lot of traffic laws that we found illogical or overreaching; however, there's one small town with a law that we think should be nationally adopted! South Berwick has a municipal law that bans parking in front of the town's only Dunkin' Donuts store. Lawmakers there understand the problems that caffeine withdrawal can cause ... finally!
If they can't hear you, you don't owe the swear jar.
If you've ever driven through a Baltimore or D.C. area rush hour, you already know that traffic is enough to make you come up with some colorful language. Given that science has proven that those who swear a lot are more intelligent, we think it's a healthy coping mechanism. Maryland disagrees! If you must let the therapeutic words fly on a Maryland street or highway, keep it on the quiet side! You can be fined for cursing within earshot of pedestrians.
Be a grown up and clean up after yourself.
Minnesota's wild country and vast open spaces are perfect for off-road adventures! As long as you're not on the main road, you can tear it up and get as muddy as you want. Just make sure that none of your mess gets on the road on your way out! Dirtying up paved roads with the dirty remnants of your adventures could land you in jail. They like to keep things clean there.
Yes, Susan. Everyone knows that you can do a handstand.
Other than not allowing cyclists to pedal over 65 miles per hour, Connecticut's laws seem fairly ordinary. While you're visiting The Nutmeg State, you're encouraged to report any strange behavior you see on the roads. Should you encounter someone crossing the street on their hands, pull over immediately and call for help. That brazen rebel is breaking one of the state's wackiest laws!
Even library fines aren't this steep!
Most of the standard rules for pedestrians and for drivers found in other states also apply in Michigan. But you might want to prepare yourself for any reading you might do there by purchasing a Kindle or an iPad. Your urge to sit in the middle of the street and read a newspaper could cause you to get a criminal record! Electronic devices are perfectly legal, though.
Think twice before you flash your lights!
Given the remote location of some of Hawaii's mountain roads, it's possible to experience a flat tire while you're out seeing the sights. It's probably second nature to reach for the hazard lights as soon as you know there's a problem — but that's not how they do things in Hawaii! Never turn your flashers on before your vehicle has stopped moving. You'll make your misfortune even more stressful by getting a ticket.
You should totally toot your own horn!
Many states, like Ohio, encourage you to use your horn when you pass someone, but most states advise against it unless it's a true emergency. Missouri really doesn't care when or why you blow your own horn — as long as it's your own horn! As tempting as it may be to try out every horn in the parking lot, you can face serious fines for honking a horn that doesn't belong to you.
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