A State-By-State Guide To The Crazy Things That Are Illegal (And Legal) To Do In A Car

Who needs a front bumper? Not New Jersey residents, apparently.

Did you know you can drink and drive in Mississippi? Literally drive your car with a beer in your hand, and not get cited as long as you’re under the legal limit? That’s just one of the surprising facts in this new mini-site from Just Park, dedicated to the inconsistencies in U.S. driving laws.

The site is called Is It Illegal to Drive…, and it uses a neat map format to give the answers to the most-Googled questions about driving law. Checking up on the first fact about Mississippi, I also discovered that open containers for passengers (not drivers) are legal in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia, and West Virginia.

What about driving with a dog in your lap? Illegal in Hawaii and New Jersey (and probably the only thing those states have in common), but fine everywhere else. Driving too slow in the passing lane on a highway will get you busted in Michigan, New Jersey (again), Oregon, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Those states have specific laws on the books prohibiting slow driving, but other states may also stop you just for being dangerous.

If you want to drive wearing headphones, you can do that in New Jersey, as well as in most other states (it’s illegal in just 16 states, Including Alaska, where nobody will see you do it anyway).

Driving a golf cart down the road is cool in Florida (of course), and in 26 other states, but not on regular high-speed roads. Driving after smoking a joint is only specifically banned in 19 states, although if you get caught doing 10mph on the highway you’ll probably still end up with a ticket at best.

Driving while pregnant is cool everywhere, but if your bump is too big to stretch the seatbelt around, then you should head to New Hampshire, the sole state where you can drive without one (the seatbelt, not the bump).

Cyclists should avoid Montana and Arizona, because those are the only two states that haven’t specifically banned texting while driving. Then again, few other states ever enforce these laws anyway.

Driving with a cracked windshield is only legal in Nebraska and Missouri, and either inadvisable or forbidden elsewhere. A startling 23 states have laws against passing a funeral procession. Hearse drivers in Nevada are even allowed to run red lights, although it’s not like their passenger would ever be in a hurry.

There are plenty more fascinating driving facts on the site, and if you want to fact-check the numbers, there’s even a Google Docs spreadsheet listing the sources (that said, one of the sources is the Huffington Post).

Is there anything we can take away from this informal roundup? Yes. Stay away from New Jersey, unless you want to speed past a funeral procession while wearing headphones, and with the front bumper missing from your car.

[Cover Photo: Fairfax Media/Getty Images. All Charts: via Just Park]

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