Keep a spare pair of glasses in your car - Spain
It’s rather important that you can see where you’re going whilst driving. So if you need glasses to drive, Spain insists that you keep a spare pair in your car, so that you can never be caught without them.
With Brits retiring to Spain in ever-greater numbers, the number of older expats cruising around the Costa del Sol is rising. These drivers are more likely than their younger counterparts to need glasses when behind the wheel, so it’s best they order extra pairs of specs at their next check up.
It’s illegal to drive a dirty car - Russia
This has passed from local law to urban legend to the grubby hands of corrupt cops.
Traffic police were empowered to fine drivers of cars deemed to be dirty, but nobody could agree on how dirty was ‘dirty’. If the number plate was too icky to read? If you could write ‘clean me’ in the grime? If the windows are so thick with muck that you can’t see the driver?
Ultimately the power lay with the cops, so drivers could either accept their vehicle was dirty and pay a fine, or argue and then pay a bribe to be let off.
Although the statute was only intended to last for a month there are still stories of motorists being pulled over for crud-covered cars and invited to pay cash fines on the spot.
Don’t eat or drink whilst driving - Cyprus
We all know it’s a bad idea to drink and drive. Obviously imbibing alcohol and taking control of a vehicle invites disaster, but many of us are happy to sip a soda or scoff a sandwich whilst at the wheel. This kind of fast food can get you a stiff penalty in Cyprus.
Grabbing a snack whilst speeding along the Mediterranean island’s winding roads can leave a nasty taste in your mouth if you get pulled over by police, or even worse.
Switch your lights on - Sweden
Volvo owners have long been flummoxed by the headlights on their Swedish-made cars. There’s nothing so much wrong with the lamps - they light up the road ahead effectively - it’s more the fact that there is no way to switch them off.
High in the north of Europe, much of Sweden endures long spells of darkness during winter. So perhaps it makes sense for drivers just to leave their headlights on all the time, and this is enshrined in law.
5. Keep your shirt on - Thailand
The roads in Thailand can be pretty hectic, a maelstrom of honking horns and buzzing tuk-tuks angrily bustling through a sea of fumes. Drivers tend to ignore speed limits, stop signs, traffic lights and each other.
The chaos is compounded by one-way streets that switch direction at certain times and drivers who were able to buy their licence without passing any test or undergoing any training.
But it’s good to know that amidst this life-threatening traffic jam, a sense of decorum is maintained. Thai law requires all drivers to wear shirts whilst behind the wheel. This law applies equally to all genders.