Despite what you may have heard, it’s not illegal to drive barefoot – or even in flip-flops – although it probably should be! When it comes to road safety, people often focus on avoiding distractions, following the traffic rules and staying sober. However, an often-overlooked aspect of safe driving is the footwear drivers choose to wear.
Driving in flip flops or barefoot may seem convenient or comfortable, especially in the summer, but it can pose serious risks to both a driver and others on the road. Here’s why you want to prioritize comfort over safety (even if that means keeping a spare pair of “driving” shoes in the car).
You need proper footwear to drive effectively
The thin soles and loose-fitting straps of flip-flops can make it challenging to maintain consistent pressure on the car’s pedals, increasing the likelihood of slipping or hitting the wrong pedal at a critical moment. Driving barefoot seems like it would give your more sensory control, but it actually doesn’t. You may have more difficulty adjusting your bare foot in a level manner, which can lead to excessive pressure and abrupt stops or sudden accelerations.
In addition, flip-flops often have smooth and slippery soles, which can reduce the grip and traction needed for proper control of the vehicle. Bare feet aren’t actually much better. In emergency situations that require sudden braking or swift maneuvers, the lack of stability and grip from flip-flops or bare feet can make it harder to maintain control of the pedals, potentially leading to accidents.
Your flip-flops or discarded shoes can become a hazard
In certain situations, loose-fitting footwear like flip-flops can become their own hazard. The loose ends of flip-flops can get suddenly tangled around the car’s pedals, obstructing their proper operation. So, too, can your discarded sneakers or other shoes if you’re driving barefoot and they happen to slide underneath your pedals while you’re in motion.
With all this in mind, do yourself (and your passengers) a favor this summer and stick to sneakers or some other sturdy footwear while you’re driving. Additionally, if you do end up in a wreck, you’ll be in a better position to claim fair compensation for your losses because others will not be able to argue that your choice of footwear – or lack thereof – contributed to the cause(s) of the crash.