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Watch out for these weird car laws

Getting a ticket for these 9 crazy car laws could raise your insurance rates.

Some laws aren’t taught in driver’s education, including these odd car laws that leave you wondering how they came about in the first place. But breaking these laws, knowingly or not, could result in a hefty fine. And if breaking one leads to a moving violation or points on your record, you could see your car insurance affected — no matter how strange the law seems.

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 7 states

Six states have laws that prohibit driving with your dog unrestrained: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. 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 doesn’t 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 Connecticut and Wisconsin

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 on highways in Wisconsin, which could make for some extra-long commutes. And in Connecticut, drivers must slow down or stop for livestock when cattle crossing signs are used.

Don’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.

In addition, courts in some states have ruled that it’s okay to warn oncoming drivers. But the rulings can be a bit controversial if the flashes interfere with the other driver’s vision or if the police are investigating a crime.

Scrape off your car before you hit the road

Though they sound weird, new ice missile laws could actually be beneficial to the public. When ice or snow falls off the top of a vehicle that’s traveling down the road, it can cause a severe hazard to any oncoming traffic, including smashed windshields and bodily injury.

These states have laws requiring drivers to remove snow and ice from vehicles before hitting the road.

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • New Hampshire
  • Parts of Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Car insurance isn’t required in these 4 states

Arizona doesn’t require you to have auto insurance to legally drive. But to bypass the requirement, you must put up a $40,000 bond to cover any damage that you cause.

New Hampshire is the only state that doesn’t have car insurance requirements for residents of the state. However, you have to prove that either you have insurance or can pay up to $50,000 in injuries and $25,000 in property damage if you get in an accident. If you can’t prove this after an accident, your license could be suspended.

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.

If you live in Alaska‘s wilderness, you also may not have to buy car insurance. The relaxed laws apply to areas that aren’t connected to the state highway system or to driving on roads with an average daily traffic volume of 499 vehicles or less. However, if you received a violation of six or more points within five years, you still need the minimum liability insurance.

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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

Where do these weird car laws come from?

Almost every law is passed in relation to a current topic or case. There may have been a strange situation in a town that rendered a new law, or the law might have been worded in a way that doesn’t clearly explain its intention. Some laws were passed a long time ago and have never been revoked.

Are the penalties for breaking these weird car laws severe?

Most of these weird car laws come with fines, depending on the severity. If it involves putting any person or animal in danger, the fine could be steep and come with more severe consequences.

What happens if I’m driving through a state and break a weird car law?

A lot depends on your situation. If it’s a more harmless law that you broke, the police officer may give you a warning and ask you to fix the situation before moving along.

However, more severe cases that may lead to danger, might result in a fine. Ultimately, it will be up to the police officer’s discretion.

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