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Watch out for these weird car laws

Getting a ticket for these crazy driving laws could raise your car insurance rates.


Fact checked

Some laws aren’t taught in driver’s education. Along with each state’s standard laws, come its weird laws. Breaking these laws, whether knowingly or not, could result in a hefty fine. No matter how weird they seem, it’s best to play it safe.

No loud tires allowed in Kansas

Most people know that street racing is illegal, but Kanas went a step further by banning tire squealing and wheel spinning. Perhaps this is one reason why Hollywood never shoots racing movies in the state of Kansas.

Don’t pump your own gas in New Jersey

In New Jersey, you can’t pump gas into your car when you stop to refuel. A 1949 law that many states have since overturned means that a gas station employee will be filling your tank for you if you fill up in New Jersey. New Jersey is the only state to honor this law.

You can’t leave your car idling unattended in New York

In the state of New York, it’s against the law to leave your car running while it’s unattended. This could include waiting for your car to warm up when it’s cold outside, or quickly running into a store and leaving the engine on. If you’re not in the car or directly outside it, technically you’re breaking the law.

Other states have similar laws about leaving your keys in the car, likely to prevent car theft.

It’s illegal to drive blindfolded in Alabama

If you’re driving through Alabama, it may seem obvious that you shouldn’t wear a blindfold while driving. However, it’s illegal in this state, though it’s unclear why this law had to be spelled out in the first place.

Contain pets in cars in these 6 states

Six states have laws that prohibit driving with your dog unrestrained: Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. New Hampshire’s law also prohibits driving with a dog in the bed of a pickup truck unless it’s properly caged, while Oregon outlaws driving with animals outside of your vehicle at all, such as in a pickup bed.

Though it’s a commonly cited myth, Massachusetts’ animal transport law does not specify that you can’t drive with gorillas in your vehicle. However, the state does have specific guidelines in place for the safe transport of any animal.

Livestock have the right of way in Wisconsin and Connecticut

Agriculture is big business in the US, which translates into some pretty weird car laws.

It’s illegal in New Mexico to leave the state with any type of farm animal, dead or alive, unless it’s first inspected by the state of New Mexico.

Cows have the right of way in the states of Wisconsin and Connecticut, which could make for some extra long commutes.

You can’t flash your high beams in Michigan or Washington

Many states have different laws when it comes to using your headlights, especially flashing headlights. Michigan has made it illegal to flash high beam lights at oncoming traffic up to a distance of 500 ft.

It’s illegal up to 500 ft in Washington state as well, although some rulings have stated that it’s okay to warn oncoming drivers as long as the flashing lights don’t interfere with the other driver’s vision.

Scrape off your car before you hit the road

Though they sound weird, new ice missile laws could actually be beneficial to the public. The four states of Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, in addition to many municipalities in Ohio and Michigan, have laws requiring drivers to remove snow and ice from vehicles before hitting the road.

When ice or snow falls off the top of a vehicle that’s travelling down the road, it can cause a severe hazard to any oncoming traffic, including smashed windshields and bodily injury.

Car insurance isn’t required in these 3 states

A few states have some car insurance exemptions, or don’t require car insurance at all, if you meet certain criteria.
New Hampshire is the only state that doesn’t have car insurance requirements for residents of the state. However, drivers are still responsible for paying for any damages they cause.

If you get into an accident, you’ll need to prove that either you have insurance or you can pay up to $50,000 in injuries and $25,000 in property damage. If you can’t prove this after an accident, your license could be suspended.

If you live in the wilderness of Alaska, you also aren’t required to buy car insurance. The threshold is for areas that aren’t connected to the state highway system or to a road with an average daily traffic volume of over 499 vehicles.

Virginia also allows drivers to avoid car insurance if they pay the state $500 a year, although that fee doesn’t provide any accident coverage.

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Bottom line

Following the rules of the road is always a good idea, no matter how insignificant the law appears to be. Weird car laws can call this notion into question, but the law is the law. Brush up on the law before your next trip to avoid being pulled over unexpectedly.

And to make sure you’re covered, compare car insurance to cover any unknown you might face on the road.

Common questions about weird car laws

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