foreign traffic

Those of us with a driver’s license and a working car have a good knowledge of local traffic laws…or at least the ones we remember when someone cuts us off. And then there are the laws that should be made but aren’t, like the fact that Virginia doesn’t have a law prohibiting bus drivers from using their phones. Here are some surprising traffic laws that go above and beyond the call of duty.

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, it is legal to drink alcohol while you’re driving, as long as you stay below the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.75 grams of alcohol per liter of blood. This blood alcohol level is roughly the equivalent of consuming three to four drinks in an hour. If you exceed this limit, you may face the consequences of a $500 fine, getting your driver’s license suspended, or having your vehicle impounded.


On the opposite side of that coin, it is illegal to eat or drink anything at all while driving in Cyprus. This law includes water. Law enforcement in Cyprus want to see both of your hands on the wheel at all times. Failure to do so will result in two to four points being removed from your driver’s license, as well as a fine of up to 85 Euro.


The autobahns in Germany are notorious for their high-speed drivers. The surprising law here is that it is illegal to run out of gas while you’re driving on the autobahns. If you fail to fuel up, you may face a six-month driving ban, or up to five years of jail time.


Winters in Sweden are brutal, with only 4 to 5.5 hours of daylight. So it makes some sense to have a law that requires drivers to keep their headlights on while driving at any time of day. But what about summers, when the days are so long that nights don’t even reach total darkness?

South Carolina

People in Hilton Head, South Carolina are apparently concerned about feeding and/or harboring rats. For this reason, it is illegal to store trash in or around your vehicle. If you are caught with trash in your car, you could be subject to a fine of up to $500, or up to 30 days in jail.

Who would have thought that what and when you eat or drink, when you run out of gas, how quickly you speed up or slow down, or what you leave in you car could potentially break so many laws around the world? Whether you’re driving your own vehicle or taking public transportation, traffic laws such as these are great examples of why it pays to be aware of the dos and don’ts wherever you may be driving.