Driving Barefoot - What Drivers Need to Know
While enjoying spring, summer and the approaching fall, you may be inclined to take off your shoes and run barefoot through your lawn to feel the grass crunch between your toes. If you’re thinking about driving your car barefoot, though, you may want to give that a little more thought.
Why Do People Think Barefoot Driving is Illegal? The myth of illegal barefoot driving has been around for a long time. It may stem from the rules against being barefoot that we see in other places, such as retail stores that put “no shoes, no shirt, no service” signs on their doors. It just may be that people sense that it could be dangerous, and generally, it may simply not seem like a good idea. If you ask someone, they might tell you that driving without shoes on is against the law. In the United States, this is actually false. None of our 50 states has a law against barefoot driving, but the practice is often discouraged. The main concern is that bare feet could slip off the pedals and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Some people who drive barefoot disagree, saying that barefoot driving helps them to feel the pedals better and keeps them more alert.
Can Barefoot Driving be Considered Reckless? You can be ticketed for reckless driving while driving barefoot, if there is a good reason to associate your lack of shoes with recklessness. In Colorado for instance, according to their Drivers Handbook, reckless driving is “willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.” And, careless driving means operating a vehicle “in a careless and imprudent manner.” A police officer would have to have good reason to cite you for reckless driving, simply for the fact that you are not wearing shoes. The most likely scenario would be if you had caused an accident by having lost control (of the brakes for instance). West Virginia attorney, Troy Giatras, reminds us that accidents can be traumatic - one very good reason you want to have legal input before you say something incriminating.
Which Shoes are Best For Driving? The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles warns that flip flops are potentially even more hazardous than bare feet when driving. This senior citizen ended up breaking through his garage, with his car immersed in the pool after his flip flops became entangled in the pedals. Sneakers or low-heeled shoes for are suggested for driving, and keeping a spare pair of good driving shoes in your car is a great idea. Although it is legal to drive a car barefoot in all 50 states, it may be illegal to drive something other than a car, like a motorcycle. In some states even passengers on motorcycles are required by law to wear shoes. Another cautionary tip given by police and motor vehicle safety experts is to be sure that if you do drive barefoot, that you don’t leave your shoes on the floor near the pedals (where they could get caught under the pedals and interfere with their operation). Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Author Holly Chavez
- Sheryl Lyon