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Is Driving Barefoot Illegal?

Kicking off your shoes at the end of a long day can be comforting. However, sometimes you just can’t wait until you get home to go shoeless.

You may even want to kick those shoes off the second you climb inside your vehicle.

However, is driving barefoot illegal? Let’s take a look!

Why in the World Do People Drive Barefoot?

If you’ve ever had to spend hours upon hours on your feet or wear uncomfortable shoes, it’s easy to see why you would want to go barefoot as soon as possible.

Sometimes we’ll sacrifice comfort for fashion, especially when it comes to footwear.

However, with our feet tucked away in the floorboard of our vehicle, we can remove our shoes and give our toes a chance to breathe.

Some people choose to drive barefoot because it’s more practical. Some shoes, like flip-flops or sandals, aren’t designed with driving in mind.

These shoes can be looser and move around more on your foot. This can make it difficult to be precise while pressing the foot pedals while driving. This can be incredibly unsafe and has the potential to result in a severe accident.

So drivers wearing shoes that make driving difficult or dangerous will opt to go barefoot instead.

Pro Tip: Stay safe while driving by making sure to Avoid These Driving Obstacles At All Costs.

Zero states have laws about driving barefoot.

There’s been this common theory that driving barefoot is illegal. However, there are no states that currently have laws on the books regarding driving barefoot.

Some states have even included notes in DMV driving manuals to inform drivers that barefoot driving is legal. 

While it’s legal in all 50 states, many DMV materials discourage the practice and encourage proper footwear. A solid pair of comfortable shoes that fit correctly and stay secured to your foot is preferred.

However, bare feet are much better options than loose-fitting sandals that have the potential to get stuck under the gas or brake pedals. 

Can You Still Get a Ticket for Driving Barefoot?

An officer can’t give you a ticket for doing something that’s not illegal. Since driving barefoot is legal in all 50 states, you can stop worrying about citations.

However, even some law enforcement believe the myth that driving without shoes is illegal and will issue a citation for reckless driving. Still, no laws exist to back up the ticket, and you’ll likely have little trouble contesting it in court.

However, an officer can give you a citation for reckless driving if you’re involved in an accident due to your barefoot driving.

The citation will have less to do with being barefoot and more to do with the accident itself. So, unless you’re a smooth talker, you’re likely not going to get out of this type of citation in this situation.

Woman driving in flip flops
Be careful when driving with flip-flops as they can easily slip.

Is It Illegal to Drive in Flip-Flops? 

Driving in flip-flops is not illegal in any of the 50 states. However, it can make driving more complicated as your feet may slip or your flip-flops can get in the way.

Many drivers will opt to drive barefoot instead, especially if their flip-flops are loose-fitting. It’s also important to remember not to store your flip-flops on the floorboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

This can create a very unsafe situation if they slide around and prevent the pedals from doing their jobs.

How Did This Misconception Start?

While driving barefoot is legal in all 50 states, many states recommend proper footwear when driving. Some people are rule followers and often interpret recommendations as legal requirements.

So because a state made a recommendation years ago and someone interpreted it as a legal requirement, the myth began to pass from one generation to the next.

With the advent of the internet and easier access to information, people could test this myth for themselves. In the 1990s, Jason Heimbaugh wrote to the DMV for all 50 states asking them the legality of barefoot driving.

Every single state replied to his request stating that it was legal. 

Man driving RV.
The most important part of RV driving is ensuring safety!

Is It More Dangerous to Drive in Some Shoes Rather Than Barefoot?  

When you wear loose-fitting shoes or shoes with no backing, there’s a risk that these shoes could slip off while you’re driving. This could cause you to hit the wrong foot pedal or fail to press the brake. When you drive barefoot, you’re able to get a better feel for the pedal than you would with loose-fitting shoes.

If you do choose to drive barefoot, you should place your shoes on the floorboard of the passenger seat or in the backseat of your vehicle.

You don’t want the shoes to move around while you’re driving and get in the way of you safely operating your vehicle. 

Are Certain Shoes Better for Driving Than Others?

When you’re driving, you want to be as safe as possible. You may not think the type of shoe you wear matters all that much, but it does.

You should avoid shoes that are loose or have little to no backing. These shoes can easily fall off and get trapped under pedals or get in the way. Shoes like high-heels and other more fashionable shoes often make driving difficult as well.

Shoes that are typically better for driving are snug-fitting shoes that are secure on your feet. Furthermore, shoes with a flat sole and grip help ensure your foot won’t slip on the pedals while you’re driving. You want shoes that are comfortable and won’t be a distraction while you’re driving. This is especially important if you’re planning to drive for prolonged periods.

Pro Tip: Want to learn how to safely drive an RV, with or without shoes? Discover What Is RV Driving School?

Why Do Officials Discourage Driving Barefoot? 

If you ask most officials, they’re likely not going to encourage you to drive barefoot regularly. This is because their job is to help promote safety for all those driving on the roads.

While driving barefoot may not be all that dangerous, they’d rather you wear the best possible shoe for driving. Accidents can happen, and it’s their job to help promote driving practices that minimize this risk.

So…Is Driving Barefoot Safe? 

Driving barefoot can be safe, depending on the situation. If the footwear you’re wearing hinders your ability to drive safely, then barefoot driving may be the best option.

However, you should always make sure to store your shoes in a spot where they won’t be in the way or a distraction.

Did you believe the misconception that driving without shoes was always against the law? Let us know in the comments below!

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