Car rental abroad is a great way to discover the different facets of a country and venture off the beaten track. However, you will need to adapt to the local traffic regulations, which is why we regularly publish driving guides in the countries where we operate. And just for fun, we’ve compiled the best (or in some cases worst) rules you should know before renting a car in the USA or another country. While it’s unlikely you will have a gorilla as a passenger or lock lips while driving, it’s always good to be culturally aware!
1. IN RUSSIA, DRIVING A DIRTY CAR IS PUNISHABLE with A FINE
Pay attention to the condition of your car if you drive in Russia! You can be fined if you are driving a car of questionable cleanliness. But this rule has a purpose! The law was created to force car owners to keep their license plates legible. Due to extreme weather conditions, dirt build-up on cars often makes it so you can’t read their license plates. However, this measure has created controversy because the degree of cleanliness of the car and the legibility of the license plate are still at the discretion of traffic officials.
2. IN JAPAN, SPLASHING PEDESTRIANS WHILE DRIVING CAN COST YOU MONEY
Driving while abroad involves adapting to the culture of the country in which you will be driving. In Japan, where politeness is king, this rule applies even on asphalt, since splashing a pedestrian while driving through a puddle is punishable by a fine. So watch out if you drive in the land of the Rising Sun, especially during the rainy season, between May and July!
3. IN MINNESOTA, GORILLAS Have to Ride in the FRONT OF THE Car
Let’s say you adopt a gorilla. Let’s say you and your gorilla want to discover Minnesota. Before you set off to explore the Midwest with your hominid, you should be aware of a law of the utmost importance: your gorilla can only sit in the front passenger seat, and not in the back seat. We’re not lying to you, it’s written in the law! Oh yes, another thing: if you have a red car, you should know that the law forbids you to drive on Lake Street in Minneapolis. You’ve been warned!
4. IN ALABAMA, DRIVING While BLINDFOLDED IS PROHIBITED
Are Minnesota’s laws too restrictive so you decided to explore another state? How about Alabama? Not so fast! Before discovering the beauty of the American South, know that you won’t be able to drive while blindfolded in this state.
5. IN SAN FRANCISCO, IT IS FORBIDDEN TO CLEAN YOUR CAR WITH DIRTY UNDERWEAR
Would you like to ride the cable cars and take the pulse of trendy and avant-garde San Francisco? You should know that the city that gave birth to the Peace & Love movement also gave birth to a whole bunch of weird laws. Among them: it’s forbidden to use dirty underwear as a cloth to clean your car. But you won’t be fined if the underwear took a spin in the washing machine… Whew! As for the origin of this peculiar ban, it remains, perhaps for the best, unknown. Are you planning to visit San Francisco? You should also know that the law stipulates that if you wish to walk with an elephant on Market Street, it must be kept on a leash.
6. IN THE UK, You Can’t URINATE ON Someone Else’s Car
What do you do if you’re in the middle of a road trip on the pretty English roads and you need a restroom? If your anatomy allows it and you are not shy, you can relieve yourself on the side of the road. But if you’re in the UK, be aware of one very important rule: you must press your hand on the car to let any witnesses know that the object you are spraying is indeed yours. Have a nice trip!
7. IN MANY COUNTRIES, YOU HAVE TO DRIVE WITH YOUR LIGHTS ON… 24 HOURS A DAY
In at least 15 countries around the world, turning your lights on while driving is mandatory, during the day and night. In Italy and Hungary, dipped headlights are compulsory outside built-up areas, while you must drive with your lights on wherever you are and at any time of day in the following countries:
8. IN GERMANY, IT IS FORBIDDEN TO STOP ON THE Roadway IF YOU RUN OUT OF Gas
More than any other country in the world, don’t forget to fill up your tank in Germany, especially before driving on the Autobahn, the German motorway. If you run out of gas, you can be fined up to 70 euros by law. The reason for such a punishment? Unlike other breakdowns, running out of gas can be avoided. The Germans consider this a driver error, which is therefore punishable in the eyes of the authorities.
9. IT IS FORBIDDEN TO KISS IN A CAR IN ITALY
Ah, la dolce vita! The romantic colorful villages, the singing accent of the Italians… Be careful, however, not to get carried away by your ardor if you travel to Eboli, south of Naples. In this town in Campania, playing Romeo and Juliet while driving can be expensive (up to 500 euros to be exact) because kissing in a car is forbidden by law. The reason? It could distract the driver and cause an accident.