Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

Driving barefoot isn’t usually something most people do from the moment they get their driver’s license. Usually, they try driving barefoot to avoid driving in tricky shoes or when it’s really hot during summer. But is it illegal to drive barefoot?

Most older adults and even some driving instructors will tell you that it is illegal. However, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Is It Illegal to Drive Without Shoes?

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Contrary to popular belief, driving barefoot is not illegal.

This may come as a shocker to a lot of people. That’s mostly because a lot of people have heard the exact opposite for the longest time.

As a driver, it’s possible you got yelled at the first time someone saw you driving barefoot. This gets a lot of drivers puzzled, as driving barefoot isn’t exactly prohibited by the law.

We dug a little deeper into this topic, and we found out that there’s quite a discussion on it among drivers.

On the one hand, there are people advocating that driving barefoot might be dangerous and should therefore be avoided. This group of people often mention the dangers of foot slipping off a pedal or not having adequate pressure without shoes.

On the other hand, the ones that love driving barefoot like to state the complete opposite opinion.

For example, they argue that they have a better feel of the pedals when barefoot. They also often state that the foot slipping off a pedal because it gets wet is something very unlikely to happen.

However, despite the possible hazards that driving barefoot may bring, it turns out that being illegal is an urban legend.

Why Is It Against the Law to Drive Barefoot?

As we just stated, driving barefoot is not strictly against the law. Regardless of this, a large number of people still think otherwise.

This begs the question – are all of those people living in a delusion, or are they avoiding barefoot driving for a reason?

It’s actually very unlikely that a huge amount of people would share an opinion for absolutely no reason.

As any logical person can imagine, driving barefoot isn’t as common, and therefore it’s immediately linked with possible bad outcomes.

This fact alone, along with some others, led to creating what is now an urban legend.

Why do People Believe It’s Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

As most of us walk in shoes and also operate vehicles in shoes 95% of the time, driving barefoot is simply looked down upon.

You wear shoes while you first learn how to drive a car, so you get used to the feeling you get when touching the pedal.

Apart from that, most driving instructors actively discourage driving barefoot.

There is a reason behind this. For example, if you cause an accident while driving barefoot, you may get accused of reckless driving.

Reckless driving or distracted driving is easily punishable in every single state of the U.S. It can be connected to anything that diverts your attention from the road or makes you lose control of the vehicle.

We should also mention that you shouldn’t be concerned only about getting the penalty or not. If a certain habit can lead to a car accident, then it’s a serious matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

That’s exactly why you probably heard of a number of horrendous car accident stories caused by barefoot driving.

Although we could argue if those stories are true or not, most people believe in them.

In fact, some police officers might not even be aware that driving barefoot isn’t illegal. That means it’s not uncommon to get a ticket for driving barefoot.

 Is It Safe to Drive Barefoot?

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Although driving barefoot is not against the law, there are definitely some dangers connected to it.

The most common thing people fear is their feet sliding off a pedal.

Of course, this is quite possible for different reasons but can vary from person to person.

When you first try driving barefoot, it can feel liberating and scary at the same time.

Not all people react well to change, so your driving ability might be reduced when driving barefoot – even without you noticing.

Why Driving Barefoot Might Be Unsafe?

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 The first and most common reason is that your feet may slip off more easily. This can happen especially during summer when high temperatures make us sweat excessively.

A lot of people who like driving barefoot argue against this statement. They state that not all soles of shoes have a rough surface on them, which is necessary for traction.

This is true, as some slick shoes are even more dangerous to drive in than driving barefoot.

Another thing is that feet simply cannot provide enough braking force as shoes can. [1]

This is self-explanatory and can be dangerous if you get used to driving with shoes beforehand.

Even if you are completely sure your feet won’t slip, there are still three ways in which you can get in trouble.

For example, some local laws ban barefoot driving. Just because driving barefoot isn’t prohibited in all U.S. states doesn’t mean that there aren’t city laws that actually prohibit it. [2]

Also, you might still get a ticket, even without a law against barefoot driving. That’s because not all officers know it is legal, and it may be regarded as a safety hazard.

If you do cause an accident by driving barefoot, this habit can be used against you.

Say you get injured – it would be harder to recover from an accident if you got injured barefoot. [3]

Many people have stepped on the glass or injured their feet in similar ways by being barefoot during car accidents.

In What States Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

 

State Policies & Recommendations
Alabama The motorcycle drivers are required to wear shoes in Alabama. There are no laws against driving a car barefoot, but you can get a penalty for reckless driving if you cause an accident.
Arizona Arizona also has no laws against driving barefoot. However, you could get penalties from civil laws if you cause a car crash while driving barefoot.
Colorado The popular belief that driving barefoot is illegal is widespread in Colorado. Still, there are no laws in Colorado that prohibit driving barefoot.
Connecticut Officials from Connecticut also stated there are no laws against driving barefoot.
Florida There’s also no law in Florida that’s against driving barefoot. Additionally, driving barefoot isn’t banned in any other Florida administrative codes and statutes.
Kansas Kansas is very similar to Missouri as well. Driving barefoot isn’t prohibited and is considered better than driving in dangerous shoes.
Missouri Missouri is similar to Ohio when it comes to this. Driving barefoot is not prohibited but is generally considered unsafe. Still, officials in Missouri consider driving in flip-flops or heels more dangerous than driving barefoot.
North Carolina No laws in North Carolina prevent you from driving barefoot. However, there’s a widespread myth that driving barefoot is prohibited.
Ohio Driving barefoot in this state is not illegal, but it is widely frowned upon and generally considered unsafe.
Pennsylvania There is no law in Pennsylvania that prevents you from driving barefoot. In fact, no law in Pennsylvania states anything about what a driver should or shouldn’t wear altogether.
South Carolina There isn’t a law in South Carolina prohibiting driving barefoot.
Tennessee Tennessee officials also state there is no law strictly prohibiting barefoot driving. They also recommend checking local regulations, as municipalities of Tennessee may have independent laws prohibiting this.
Texas You won’t get a ticket for driving barefoot in Texas. However, if you cause an accident, you may get a ticket for reckless driving.
Utah The Utah law doesn’t prevent you from driving barefoot. However, it is strongly recommended to put on shoes while driving.
Virginia The Virginia law does caution its citizens about wearing improper footwear for driving, such as flip-flops or high heels. Driving dangerous is discouraged, but it’s still not against the law.
Wisconsin In Wisconsin, driving barefoot is perfectly legal. It is even recommended instead of driving with potentially dangerous shoes on.

 

What Shoes Are More Dangerous Than Driving Barefoot?

Not only is driving barefoot legal in all 50 states, but it’s also even more preferable than driving in risky shoes.

Any type of shoes that can easily slip off a pedal or get caught underneath is potentially very dangerous. If you often wear these, make sure you keep a spare pair of shoes that are suitable for driving.

  • Flip-flops – These are one of the riskiest shoes to have on while driving. They easily move and are most likely on this list to slip off and get caught beneath or around a pedal.
  • High heels – Driving in high heels is very challenging because your heel is elevated when it needs to be on the ground. With heels, you can’t properly estimate the amount of pressure you put on a pedal, which is crucial for safe driving.
  • Shoes with laces – We’re not saying you can’t drive with any shoes that have laces. We are saying that laces should be tied and not all over the place, as they can get caught in the pedals.
  • Dress shoes – Those elegant leather shoes are often worn during hot weather and look great but can be slippery on the pedals.
  • Open-toe shoes – Shoes that have a slightly open-toe part are usually not a cause for concern. It’s those other completely open-toe shoes that can easily get caught underneath a pedal.
  • Open-heel shoes – These can be as dangerous as open-toe shoes. Your foot may easily slip out of the open-heel shoe, making it difficult to have control over the pedals. 

Is It Illegal to Drive in Socks?

With all this fuss about driving barefoot, driving with only socks on is not discussed nearly as often.

When it comes to the law regulations, driving with socks on is just as legal as driving barefoot.

Still, driving with socks is kind of a different story than driving barefoot or in tricky shoes. Let’s just say that driving performance while driving with only socks differs from person to person.

While some may argue that socks make your feet easily slip off, others argue that socks provide even better traction than driving barefoot.

What Are The Best Shoes for Driving?

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It is a no-brainer, but your ideal driving shoes should fit you properly. By ‘properly,’ we mean that your foot should be properly supported from all angles. [4]

Tightness or blisters may affect the way your foot reacts to the pressure while driving.

On the other hand, you definitely don’t want to drive in oversized shoes either. These can easily slip off your feet and cause you some great trouble while you try to regain control of the pedals.

 Do I Lose Insurance While Driving Barefoot?

No, you won’t lose insurance just because you’re driving barefoot.

However, if you do cause an accident because of driving barefoot, the situation gets more complicated. Depending on the local government policy, your financial coverage might be compromised. [5]

It’s also quite possible to get a ticket just because some officers may interpret driving barefoot as reckless driving. 

The Takeaway – Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

Now you’re aware it’s perfectly legal to drive barefoot in all 50 states of the U.S.

Despite this being true, a lot of people still believe driving barefoot is illegal, making it a prevalent urban legend.

It’s still quite possible to get a ticket for driving barefoot, as this habit can sometimes be linked to reckless driving. This is especially the case if you happen to cause a car crash while barefoot driving.

Still – driving with shoes that easily slip off or don’t provide the right traction can be more dangerous than driving barefoot.