Did you ever wonder if it were legal for you to kick off your shoes before getting behind the wheel? This is a question that tends to come up every year as the weather gets warmer. There are many reasons people might drive barefoot:
- In some coastal states, motorists often drive barefoot after leaving the beach.
- Some motorists claim driving without shoes helps them respond faster.
- Many people do not like footwear and prefer to be barefoot.
Driving barefoot is legal in virtually all jurisdictions across the United States. It’s hard to say where the urban legend that barefoot driving is illegal got started. One possible culprit is sites where users who may not be familiar with the law can post responses to others’ questions.
Whatever the case, barefoot driving is a bugbear law enforcement agencies are aware of. In 2006, some states clarified their official positions on barefoot driving by stating it “would be a stretch” to consider it careless or reckless and falls under the category of an urban legend.
Is Operating a Car While Barefoot Dangerous?
Though the reasons for drivers operating a motor vehicle without shoes may be valid, it’s best to avoid barefoot driving. Although leisurely activity is legal, law enforcement agencies have cautioned motorists to avoid it. Several states law enforcement officers have come out against barefoot driving. Driving barefoot can be dangerous for the following reasons:
- Many people find it more challenging to depress the brake pedal while barefoot.
- Bare feet may be slippery or otherwise prone to poor traction on the pedals.
- Pedals can become hot in warm climates and difficult to operate barefoot.
Barefoot Driving Can Contribute to Reckless Driving
Barefoot driving isn’t prohibited by Florida statute, but it can worsen a driver’s legal woes if it contributes to an accident. Reckless driving is defined in Florida Statute 316.192, which gives law enforcement officers wide latitude to determine when a motorist’s driving made an accident worse or more likely. Being barefoot can definitely impair your driving in an emergency, so it’s best to avoid it.
What to Wear to Make Driving Safer
When operating a vehicle, footwear should be sturdy and offer complete coverage of both feet. You might sometimes find yourself in situations where your footwear makes it more difficult to drive:
- High heels can sometimes become jammed under the brake or accelerator in an emergency.
- Sandals and “flip-flops” do not provide the same level of traction as other types of shoes.
If you believe that your day-to-day footwear might impair your ability to drive, it’s always best to bring a pair of sneakers or other comfortable shoes to change into before driving. Remember, you are responsible for doing everything you can to prevent accidents!