Surprising Traffic Laws You Might Be Breaking (And Not Even Know)

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Traffic laws and regulations can vary significantly from one state or city to another, and as a result, you may come across some unusual or unexpected traffic tickets depending on where you are. Some of these tickets are seen as ridiculous and outlandish, while others seem obvious and it’s hard to understand why anyone would even try it.

Here are a few examples of strange or unexpected types of traffic tickets that have been reported in different states and cities:

Check These for More on Tickets and Your Driving Record:

Driving Too Slowly

Most of us are worried about driving too fast, but we seldom think about the consequences of driving too slowly. While speeding tickets are common, some states can issue tickets for driving too slowly. In some places, driving significantly below the speed limit can result in a ticket for impeding traffic. This is usually the case on interstate highways where minimum speed limits may be posted.

Flashing Your Headlights

Have you ever flashed your lights at someone to warn them about a police officer ahead? In some states, this is illegal. have laws against flashing your headlights to warn other drivers of speed traps or police checkpoints. In Florida, for example, you used to be able to receive a ticket for “improper use of high beams” if you flashed your headlights to alert oncoming drivers. However, that law has since been changed. 

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Dirty Car Ticket

In some parts of California, you can be fined for driving a dirty car. This can depend on what part of the car is dirty. In many states, you cannot drive with obstructed windows and mirrors and can be fined if your license plate is too dirty to read. While these laws aren’t specifically created to fine those with dirty vehicles, if your car is dirty enough to have obstructed windows or license plates, it could apply.


Splashing a Pedestrian 

In many areas, you can get a ticket for intentionally dousing a pedestrian by driving through a puddle. If you drive through a puddle and splash a pedestrian in New York City, you could receive a ticket for “unlawful solicitation” or “reckless endangerment.” In Canada, if an officer sees someone splashing a pedestrian, they can be fined up to $175 or more.

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Noisy Muffler Traffic Laws

Many cities have noise ordinances that prohibit excessively loud mufflers or modified exhaust systems. If your car’s exhaust is too loud, you could be ticketed for disturbing the peace. In many places, you could be ticketed for failing emissions standards, depending on why your muffler is so loud.

Using a GPS Device

While it seems obvious that you shouldn’t have anything mounted on the dash in front of the windshield, apparently not all drivers thought it through. In California and many other states, it’s illegal to mount a GPS device or other device on your windshield if it obstructs your view. This can result in a ticket for an “obstructed windshield.”

DUI on a Bicycle

DUI charges aren’t limited to those who are behind the wheel. Logically, riding your bike while drunk is also very dangerous. For this reason, some states have laws that allow police to issue DUI (driving under the influence) citations to individuals riding bicycles while intoxicated.

Failure to Remove Snow

In states with heavy snowfall, it may be illegal to drive with snow and ice on your car’s roof. The snow can come crashing down suddenly into the road, other cars, over the windshield, or even onto pedestrians. Obviously, this could be hazardous. Failing to remove thick layers of snow can result in a ticket for “unsecured load” or “obstructed view.”

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Eating While Driving

Do you enjoy grabbing a meal at fast-food restaurants and then eating while you drive? In many states, you could be ticketed for eating while driving. While there may not be laws that specifically target eating behind the wheel, distracted or reckless driving laws are broad. If you are driving erratically or not maintaining control of your vehicle, you may be ticketed for this.

Driving with an Animal on Your Lap

While it can be a common sight, it’s always a bit concerning to see someone driving their car with a dog on their lap. Some cities have ordinances against driving with pets on your lap, as it can be considered a distraction. In addition, even if there isn’t a specific law about this, many officers would see it as distracted or unsafe driving and give the driver a ticket, as pets can be very unpredictable and move suddenly into the driver’s line of sight.

No Dirty Tires 

In Minnetonka, Minnesota, it is against the law to drive a truck with muddy tires within the city limits. You can be fined if you leave tracks with dirt, mud, or sticky substances on the road. While this law might be confined to just one town, many people find it a nuisance or even dangerous when trucks leave large chunks of mud on roadways.

In Need of More Legal Help? Check These:

Conclusion on Surprising Traffic Laws

While some of these traffic laws seem unneeded and others seem obvious, it’s important to remember that the laws are different in each state and jurisdiction. While this can leave you feeling confused or concerned, if you learn basic driving rules and use common sense while driving, most of these laws won’t be a problem for the average person.

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John Miller

John Miller is a cars enthusiast who loves writing anything related to automobiles. He is a passionate blogger writing for and other auto blogs