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driving barefooted

Can You Drive a Car without Shoes?

Many of us do it, but few of us ask ourselves if driving barefoot is illegal. The short answer is it is legal to drive barefoot in all 50 states in the US, but it is not recommended for various reasons that we explain below. However, countless people drive barefoot regardless of the risks for reasons such as:

  • Comfort: Advocates for driving barefoot say it is more comfortable.
  • Better feel for the road: Proponents say they can “feel” the engine and road better without shoes.
  • Stronger grip: People who drive barefoot argue that it’s easier to grip the pedal with their toes than with shoes.
  • Shoes don’t slip around: Advocates claim that wearing backless shoes creates risks of the shoes falling off and getting stuck in the pedals.

Although you can legally drive a car without shoes, you should consider the potential consequences you could experience as a result. Just because you can drive barefoot doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Here’s why:

  • Bare feet may slide off the pedal more easily than with shoes, especially when they’re wet.
  • You may not be able to apply the same braking force in bare feet as you can while wearing a pair of shoes.
  • Driving barefoot could be considered distracted driving, especially if doing so causes an accident. You could also get a ticket if a police officer suspects that driving barefoot was the cause of the crash.
  • In the event of an accident or other incident, driving with bare feet increases your risk of injury and could make it harder for you to find safety.
  • You may face criminal charges such as reckless driving or vehicular manslaughter.

You’re better off driving with reliable footwear than with no shoes at all. As you can see, the risks of driving barefoot simply aren’t worth taking, especially because it can put the lives of you and other people at stake. As we mentioned before, you could also get a traffic ticket or criminal charges not because of driving barefoot but because of the outcomes of doing so.

With this in mind, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Is It Illegal to Drive with Flip Flops?

No, it is not illegal to wear flip-flops while driving. You are perfectly allowed to drive with flip-flops, but again, it can be dangerous. Flip flops can easily slip off your feet and get stuck under the pedals. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 16,000 crashes occur every year due to pedal errors, which can occur under the following circumstances:

  • The driver steps on the accelerator when intending to apply the brake
  • The driver’s foot slips off the edge of the brake onto the accelerator
  • The driver intends to apply only the brake but steps on both the brake and the accelerator

These instances can cause the vehicle to suddenly accelerate, resulting in a crash. A common trigger of pedal errors is improper footwear. That being said, our lawyer recommends that you AVOID wearing the following footwear while driving because it could be dangerous for you, your passengers, and others with whom you share the roads:

  • Flip flops
  • Open heeled sandals
  • High heels
  • Wedge heels
  • Thick soled boots or shoes
  • Shoes with long laces
  • Shoes without traction or with slippery soles
  • Open-toed shoes
  • Slip-on shoes

Instead of wearing the footwear listed above, consider wearing shoes that securely fit your feet, have flat soles, and adequate traction. If your work attire requires you to wear high-heels or dress shoes, we suggest wearing your “driving shoes” on the roads and changing into your other footwear when you arrive at your destination.

What Is Considered Reckless Driving in NYS?

Earlier, we warned that you could get charged for reckless driving if you drive barefoot. As such, you may wonder, “What is a reckless driving charge?” In New York, reckless driving is defined as driving a motor vehicle in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in New York, which is punishable by fines, possible jail time, and 5 points added to your New York driver’s license. If you accumulate enough points within a certain timeframe, your license could also get suspended.

Stuck with a Ticket? Let Us Fight It.

Our lawyer at Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C. understands that you could get a ticket as a consequence of doing something completely legal. Driving barefoot is legal but can result in traffic violations and criminal charges, ironically. As such, if you are in need of experienced and reliable legal representation, we welcome you to contact our firm online or at (212) 235-1525!

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