Did you know that in some English towns it’s technically an arrestable offence to carry a pig through the high street during market days?

Okay, maybe not – but you’re bound to have heard about some of the strange archaic laws and customs of times gone by. You won’t find so many of them in the UK as you might do abroad – particularly in America where they probably still aren’t allowed to carry their pigs anywhere – but there are still a good few unusual rules of the road in force these days.

We’re aware of the stringent measures taken against drunk drivers, especially during the summer or at Christmas with the TV ad campaigns, but according to the Licensing Act of 1872 you would also be in big trouble if you try to operate a cow while under the influence – so whatever you do, if you’re intending to get behind the wheel of…erm, cattle…make sure you lay off the sauce beforehand.

In Wichita, Kansas, you must give very loud, and potentially dangerous, notice to other drivers that you’ll be taking the intersection of Douglas and Broadway. According to state laws, before taking the turn you’re legally required to get out of your car and fire three rounds from a shotgun into the air. In turn, if you’re witnessing this as you drive past, then you must take the utmost care while speeding away for your safety – it’s illegal anywhere in the same state of Kansas to screech your tyres. You could end up being punished for trying to get away from someone who fired a gun in the middle of a busy intersection, who would themselves get off scot-free!

And finally, from the state of California, as reported by the DMV, two offences which, while appearing to follow common sense, would be seen as very grave and prosecuted to the full extent of the law in some circumstances. In the town of Eureka – itself named after a cry of inspiration – it is illegal for people to go to sleep in the middle of the road. If you ever find yourself there, try to resist the urge!

Try also to restrain yourself from another activity which would see you in huge trouble on the West Coast. It is illegal to jump from a car which is travelling at 65 miles per hour! We’ll go ahead and assume that you’re within your legal rights to leap from a moving car just so long as it’s 64 or under – but still wouldn’t recommend it.

Sarah Lingard


March 5, 2013