Is It Safer to Drive Barefoot or With Shoes On?

January 21, 2020

 

When you have been driving for long periods, it is often tempting to remove your shoes to maintain a higher level of comfort. However, is it possible that doing so not only puts you at risk but also those in the surrounding area? This is an ongoing argument among car experts and legal authorities alike.

 

Why Drive Barefoot?

 

Some prefer to drive barefoot as a matter of personal comfort. In some cases, it is even encouraged. Driving without shoes can sometimes be safer depending on the type of shoe that the driver is wearing. In the absence of proper sneakers, it is deemed to be completely acceptable to drive without shoes rather than wearing high heels or skimpy flip flops. Also, the act of driving without any footwear is not illegal in any part of the United States.

 

The Contentious Debate

 

Despite the legality of driving barefoot, there is more than one argument against doing so. One of these is that while having your feet out behind the wheel is not illegal, what is illegal is being responsible for a car accident that was caused by neglecting the usage of proper footwear.

Several safety hazards are presented in response to the debate for or against barefoot driving. While it is safer than wearing flip-flops, a separate set of dangers are present when going shoeless. This includes the risk of sweating, causing the feet to become slippery and lose control of the brake or gas. However, some argue that it's safer to drive barefoot. The discomfort of wearing shoes can be distracting, making the chance of an accident much higher. Others believe that barefoot driving lets them "feel the road" better, allowing for faster reaction times.

 

What Driving Experts Say

 

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) strongly encourages wearing shoes when you're operating a motor vehicle. This is due to the braking force. It is much harder to properly push down on a brake without a proper shoe than it is with one. The DSA explains that the proper shoe for driving has a sole with a thickness of approximately 10mm, has adequate grip and doesn't hinder the movement of your ankle.

 

While driving barefoot can have its advantages, it also comes with dangers. It is important to assess the situation carefully before deciding to slip off your shoes when you're behind the wheel.

 

For more tips on how to drive safely on your next trip, read on here!

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