Is it illegal to drive barefoot? You may have learned the answer to this question in a driver’s ed class, but many people didn’t.
So, today’s post takes a look at the question “Is driving barefoot illegal?” and answers it once and for all!
What Does Barefoot Driving Mean?
First, let’s talk about what “barefoot driving” is so that we’re totally clear. While it may seem obvious, barefoot driving refers to driving a vehicle when you’re not wearing any type of footwear, including socks.
By “barefoot” we mean completely uncovered feet, which means you’re stepping directly on the brake and gas pedal/accelerator with the bare skin on the sole of your foot.
Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?
While you may have heard it said that driving barefoot is illegal, that’s actually not the case. No federal, provincial, or state law says you must wear any type of footwear when driving.
Contrary to popular myth, no law in the United States, Canada, or any state or province prohibits driving without shoes on. It’s literally an urban myth that just won’t die.
With that said, wearing shoes or some other type of footwear may be a good idea while driving. Or it may be a really bad idea. Depending on your comfort and experience level, your choice of footwear can make a difference in terms of safety.
For example, driving while wearing flip-flops or high heels can be less safe than going barefoot, or just wearing socks. It’s all about the ability to control your vehicle safely. Anything that increases your control is a better choice… at least a better choice than something that might actually decrease your control.
Still, while certain types of footwear, or wearing no footwear, might be considered a benefit or hindrance to safe driving, no law (including distracted driving laws) says a driver must wear footwear while operating a motor vehicle.
This is true in Canada as well as in the United States. No Canadian law says you can’t drive a car or even a motorcycle barefoot, nor is there any law governing the type of footwear you wear while driving. However, if you get into an accident and it’s deemed that your footwear or lack of footwear is a causal factor, you could be charged with careless driving.
While there aren’t specific laws forbidding driving barefoot, some laws and regulations govern the use of particular footwear while driving in other ways.
For example, in the following states in the U.S., you’re not only allowed to drive with bare feet, but drivers are even encouraged to drive barefoot instead of wearing flip-flops or high heels. That is, unless your feet are wet or covered in sand, which could cause a loss of control of the pedals.
- North Carolina
You can operate a vehicle without footwear in the following states, meaning it’s not against the law. But should you be involved in an accident and your footwear or lack thereof is found to have contributed, you could be charged with negligent driving.
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
In certain municipalities in Indiana and Tennessee, local ordinances may allow you to be charged with reckless driving if officers/investigators believe that barefoot driving contributed to an accident.
In Arkansas, drivers are allowed to drive barefoot, but it’s possible that you could still be cited for reckless driving based on the discretion of authorities.
And here’s a strange one: In Virginia, you can drive barefoot but to avoid being fined you’re encouraged to wear close-toed shoes. 🤔
Can Driving Barefoot Affect My Car Insurance?
This question is different than whether it’s illegal to drive barefoot. Although driving without shoes isn’t generally against the law, what happens from an insurance standpoint if you’re involved in an accident while driving without shoes?
If you have a car accident while driving barefoot and the accident causes personal injury to another person, it’s possible that authorities and your auto insurance company could consider your barefoot driving as having been a safety hazard… or even reckless driving… that contributed to the occurrence of the accident. This is another reason why wearing reasonable footwear when driving might be best for most drivers.
If you don’t like wearing confining shoes when you’re driving, particularly if you want to be comfortable driving long distances, some people choose to wear slippers or another comfortable form of footwear. Well-fitting slippers that cover the entire foot (including the heel) with non-skid soles are our first choice.) They stay on and have a good grip on the pedals.
What’s important is choosing footwear that doesn’t slip or get caught on or under the accelerator or brake pedals. If you’re not comfortable wearing only socks, there are “driving socks” that give you extra traction on the pedals while also being lightweight and comfortable.
- Stretchable Fabric Uppers: This walking shoes have durable knit upper with good stretch allows the foot to fit perfect, smooth fabric provide great...
- Lightweight and Portable: The shoes are light enough that you can put them in your bag or the trunk of your car when you're driving out camping, and...
Otherwise, lightweight sneakers or form-fitting slippers with grippy soles might be your best bet for safe and comfortable driving.
- TIMELESS STYLE: Minnetonka boasts a rich heritage that includes a tradition of careful craftsmanship since 1946, delivering excellent quality footwear...
- COZY SHOE FIT: The men's leather drivers are made to stretch to the contours of your feet and wear pattern over time, ensuring that each pair of...
- Smooth leather or brown ruff leather
- Cushion leather insole
Many myths have been repeated for so long that people come to believe them as truth. “It’s illegal to drive barefoot” is one of them.
Is it illegal to drive barefoot? No. However, we’re huge proponents of safety first and safety always, especially while driving. So, while driving barefoot isn’t illegal, it may not be the safest choice for some drivers, particularly new ones.
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