ETC

Though no one wants to see patrol car lights flashing behind them, drivers can usually pinpoint what they did wrong to snag the attention of the police. You forgot to have that tail light replaced, or you were inching over the speed limit.

In some cities and states, it's not that easy. More than a few bizarre driving laws are regularly enforced across the U.S., and some are so odd, even the police must shake their heads.

1. Leave Fido and the gorilla at home

Alaska law specifically states that you can't tie your dog to the roof of your vehicle, so keep Fido inside the car. Gorillas are another matter, however, at least in Massachusetts. They're prohibited from riding in your back seat.

As for your sheep, they can climb in the back of your truck with no problem in Montana, as long as you have a chaperone with you. Tennessee makes it illegal to shoot most wildlife from a moving vehicle, but it's perfectly okay to shoot a whale from your car in this state, assuming you can find one.

2. Neatness is a virtue

Some states and municipalities feel strongly enough about tidiness that they've enacted driving laws to address it. You'll want to keep deceased chickens out of your vehicle in Topeka, Kansas, because it's illegal here to transport dead poultry in your car or truck. Minnetonka, Minnesota doesn't want dirt, mud or "sticky substances" to leave your truck and mess up its roads, so hit a car wash before you cross city lines.

3. Drive quietly

Several states are particular about when, why, and where you can sound your horn. Honking is illegal in Missouri, but only if you're in someone else's car - it's apparently okay to toot away in your own vehicle. You can't get away with horn-blowing in Oxford, Mississippi because you might scare any horses near the roadway. Arkansas is pretty open-minded about honking unless you do it near an establishment that sells sandwiches and cold drinks after 9 p.m. - that's not allowed. New Jersey likes honking, so you're obligated to sound your horn whenever you pass another vehicle.

4. Keep your eyes on the road

It's the first rule of driving: Watch where you're going. Alabama takes this to heart and passed legislation making it illegal to wear a blindfold while driving. And in Oklahoma, authorities will ticket you if you're caught reading a comic book behind the wheel.

5. Watch your mouth

Mind your manners in Rockville, Maryland, or at least keep your car windows up. It's against the law to use profanity if you can be heard outside your vehicle. New Jersey is more concerned with your attitude. It's illegal to frown at the officer if you're stopped in this state.

6. Who thought of these?

Some driving laws are so mystifying, you can only wonder how - and why - they made it on the books in the first place. You'll get a ticket in Denver if you operate a black car on a Sunday. And no matter its color, it's illegal to jump out of your car in Glendale, California, if the vehicle is traveling at 65 miles per hour.

In Florida, even if you don't park your car in the space, you must put coins in the parking meter if you tie an alligator, elephant or goat to it. If you drive into a city in Washington state with the intention of committing a crime there, you're required to report yourself. So be sure to stop at the city limits first to call the chief of police, and let him know you're on your way.


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