Is it Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

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No driver likes getting involved in an automobile accident. While many fender-benders seem harmless, there are many lives lost due to carelessness or unsafe driving practices. The focus on the goal of safe roads is more on drunk driving or speeding, but even something as simple as wearing the wrong footwear can lead to unexpected and serious accidents.

Right foot with flip flop shoe

Is Driving Barefoot Allowed?

The funny thing is, you will most likely be told off if you walk barefoot anywhere outside your house. Try going to a restaurant or a shop and you will most likely be asked to leave when you do not have shoes on. This is despite the fact that walking without your shoes does not hinder your ability to order and eat food or buy what you need.

On the other hand, you might be surprised to realize that driving barefoot will not land you in any trouble. This means that in the 50 states of the USA, there is no state that has a rule against driving without footwear. Thus, those living in the warmer states and prefer to remove their shoes in the car will be relieved to hear that they are not at risk of fines or tickets.

However, just because this is not against the law, it does not mean that driving without any footwear is the best idea. Many officials do not recommend it, although it is not banned. The risk is not being able to fully control the pedals, because bare feet are more likely to slip or even miss the pedals. Worse, when you need to brake immediately to prevent an accident, you might not be able to do so as easily as with shoes. In case you need to get out of the car, then you are more likely to get cut from glass or hurt by fire.

Claiming insurance for any damage to your vehicle or to other’s will be difficult if you have been proven to have been driving without any footwear because you might be pointed out as responsible for the accident. So while driving without any shoes is more comfortable, it might not be the best idea.

Wrong Footwear Poses Dangers

Men do not have as many different choices when it comes to footwear as women. In comparison, women have many options that might affect the way they drive. Stiletto heels, for example, are quite popular with lots of female drivers. Another kind of unreliable footwear to use while driving is flip flops, which quite a few men also wear while driving.

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Any form of inappropriate footwear can lead to accidents or near misses. In some surveys, this number is at 1 out of 10 people having problems with their driving because of their shoes. Some people also report having their footwear slip off while operating their vehicles. Such incidents are highly dangerous because of the driver’s incapacity to step on the pedals.

When you choose the wrong kind of footwear, you can also fail to gauge the amount of pressure you are putting on the pedals, making you either accelerate or brake more than planned. Worse, some wedges or wide shoes may even get wedged between so that you are unable to brake and stop the car.

Thus, it is not only important to consider the safety features of a car before you buy it but to make sure that you are driving with the right conditions and tools to avoid any accidents. One of these includes the right footwear, although many people do not realize how big a role it plays in preventing road accidents.

The Specific Risks Of Driving Barefoot

While some people swear by the ease of driving without any shoes compared to with, you might end up making some of these driving mistakes.

  • Problems With The Clutch

Older cars require a bit more pressure when stepping on the clutch. When you are barefoot, you might be unable to exert the right amount consistently to avoid your car engine from stalling or shutting down.

It is also quite a small pedal, which might make it painful when you have to step on it with the balls of the feet. On the other hand, the harder sole of shoes distribute any pressure evenly and will not cause pain, cramps, or even blisters on the feet after driving for a long time while barefoot. Worse, unexpected spasms can paralyze you in the wrong moment and lead to an accident.

  • Too Little Traction/Grip

Driving with bare feet or even with socks might not give the right grip or traction you need to step on the pedal. You might find your feet slipping unexpectedly and landing you in an accident. You have the same issue with wet feet, as you can easily become a menace on the road because of your foot slipping on the pedals.

  • No Protection For Your Feet
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In the case of an accident, footwear can also protect and prevent unwanted injuries on your feet.

What About Driving With Heels?

Women might find their favorite stilettos comfortable and sexy outside of their cars, but it is definitely not the smartest choice for driving a car. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous kinds of footwear to use. Thus, even if ladies are determined to wear their heels to work, they should seriously think about packing extra shoes for the car ride.

The problem with heels is that you need to heel as a pivot when pressing down on the pedals. With the heels flat on the floor, your feet are more stable and are less likely to slip. You can also more easily switch from the accelerator to the brake pedals.

Another issue with heels is that you are unable to gauge how much pressure you need to apply on the pedals. You might also observe that you have less grip or worse, the heels might eventually get stuck in the mat. If they do, you cannot react quickly to slow down or speed up. Along with stilettos, platform wedges are simply an accident risk when you are in your vehicle.

Foot on the pedal


The Worst: Sandals And Flip Flops

While this kind of footwear is comfortable enough for a day on the beach or during those hot, summer days, they are really not at all appropriate for driving. In fact, estimates state that they lead to about 1.4 million close calls or accidents. Unfortunately, both men and women like flip flops, upping the risk of accidents on the roads.

The main reason is that they slip off too easily and worse, get stuck under the pedal. This means, even if you put your foot down fully on the brakes, your car will not slow down. Even if they do not slip off, they have been proven to slow down the time you brake by 0.13 precious seconds. Beyond stopping later, this will also translate to requiring 11 more feet to fully stop when you are driving at 60 miles per hour. This can really mean a lot and can spell the difference between a near miss and an accident.

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Lastly, some drivers have reported getting into near-misses because they got distracted trying to put them back on. So if you have no other appropriate footwear in the car, then going barefoot might even be better than driving with flip flops.

The Perfect Driving Shoes

Choosing the right shoes to drive your car is not just a matter of safety, but it will also make it more comfortable for you to drive. After a while, your feet might feel numb, strained or even blistered if you do not have comfortable shoes on. By investing in the proper pair, you save your feet and ankles from pain. You will also prevent aching all the way up to your legs. This is because driving for a long time in bad traffic will mean you have to keep your feet down on the brakes longer. Your legs and feet will thank you, as well as the other drivers out there for being a safe driver.

Know a pair of good driving shoes and invest in them. They are normally lightweight so that your feet can move around easily and stay relaxed during the ride. You should also find yourself able to move your ankle easily to reach all pedals without problems. Make sure that they are also not too wide that you end up pressing 2 pedals at the same time.

The sole plays a huge role as well. Shoes with a medium-thick sole of about 4mm are ideal for driving. You should look out that it is not too soft or flexible so you can still firmly step on the pedals. It should also have a good grip to avoid slipping, especially if your shoes are a little wet. Lastly, no heels are best when choosing driving shoes.

Just Don’t Go Barefoot

Lots of people keep an extra pair of sneakers in the car for driving so that they will not have to drive barefoot at all. Just make sure you keep your other pair, like your stilettos, on the passenger side so they do not roll under the pedals. While fashion makes sense, it should not be at the expense of your safety out there on the road.


  1. Is Barefoot Driving Legal? – Fox Business
  2. Is It Really Illegal To Drive Barefoot? – The Daily Dot

Originally posted 2023-10-24 14:45:50.

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