Driving Barefoot

Though it is a popular belief, driving barefoot is not actually illegal. It’s perfectly legal to drive a car barefoot in all 50 States, Canada, and the UK. Some consider driving barefoot to be safer than driving with shoes, especially compared to flip-flops or high heels.

Driving Barefoot

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol:

First, contrary to popular belief and to most grandparents, it is not illegal to drive barefoot in Missouri! In fact, at times, it may even be safer to drive without shoes. For example, female drivers who wear the two-inch heels, pumps, wedges, or even the thin flip-flops, may be safer depending on the abilities of the driver, to drive barefoot, so they can gage the pedals better. Some of the thin flip-flops will bend up under the pedal, or if it gets wet, your foot may slide off or twist on the sandal causing a hazardous situation.1

According to the State of Michigan:

There is nothing in the Michigan Vehicle Code that prohibits barefoot driving. Careless or reckless driving would really be a stretch, as an argument could be made that a barefoot person has more control over the pedals.2

Some states have issued warnings about driving with such inappropriate footwear:

Drivers should wear safe footwear that does not have an open heel such as flip-flops or sandals because these types of shoes can slip off and wedge under accelerator or brake pedals. High-heeled shoes can also be problematic because heels can get caught in or under floor mats and delay accelerating or braking when needed. Driving in bare feet, socks, or stockings can also be dangerous causing your feet to slip off the gas or brake pedals.3

Simulator studies have also found that flip-flops made overall deceleration up to 0.13 seconds slower – the equivalent of travelling a further 3.5m at 60mph.4

Jason R. Heimbaugh has contacted all 50 States and the district of Columbia. You can read the responses at Barefooters.org

1. http://www.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MSHPWeb/Root/March2013FeaturedStatutes.html
2. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/TSS_Field_Update_16_172717_7.pdf
3. http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/general/#news/news.asp?id=7281
4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2396615/Flip-flops-dangerous-drive-heels-10-near-miss-wearing-them.html