It’s unclear if driving without shoes is against the law in the UK, and there are several arguments for why you would be breaching the law if you did. Although each of these may have a point, none are technically accurate. In a nutshell, the law states that wearing flip-flops while driving is not against the law in the UK. If you can safely use the controls, you can operate a car while wearing flip-flops or going barefoot.
For instance, if you attempt to drive while wearing damp shoes, you run the risk of endangering yourself, your passengers, and other drivers. This is forbidden. And even if driving without shoes is not against the law, it is still wrong. The Driving Standards Agency, the organization in charge of overseeing the UK driving exam, asserts that “appropriate shoes are particularly vital behind the wheel.” Due to the fact that driving without shoes requires less braking power than driving with shoes, we do not advise it.
When choosing shoes for driving, you should adhere to some fundamental rules. Your shoe ought to:
- A sole that is no thicker than 10 mm.
- It shouldn’t have a thin or squishy sole.
- Give your foot enough grip to keep it from slipping off the pedals.
- Not weigh too much.
- Not restrict ankle motion.
- Be thin enough to prevent simultaneously depressing two pedals accidentally.
This officially designates specific shoe styles, including high heels and flip-flops, as inappropriate for driving. Both lightweight, unsteady, and dangerous footwear, like snow boots or walking boots, can be dangerous. You need a solid foundation and a firm grip to press down on the pedals, but you also need some dexterity to operate the controls. If not, you risk having a heart-in-mouth event when you simultaneously press the brake and accelerate.
Of course, some people are not affected by this at all. Many drivers actually do so while wearing footwear that prevents them from having adequate control over the vehicle. Why wear high heels or flip-flops when operating a vehicle when you wouldn’t wear them to go for a jog?
Many people do. A pricing comparison website found that 40% of women drive in high heels, 39% drive in flip-flops, and 24% drive barefoot. More than a quarter of male drivers (27%) claimed to also be driving in flip-flops, and 22% admitted to wearing no shoes. Driving with inappropriate footwear, or even without, is not prohibited, but you have a duty as a motorist to preserve standards on the road. You run the risk of endangering yourself if your choice of footwear does that.
Pros & Cons of Driving Without Shoes
Some people find it more comfortable to drive barefoot or with socks rather than with shoes, especially during long drives.
- Better control for some people
Driving barefoot or with socks may provide better pedal control. As you can feel the pedals more directly with your feet. In an emergency situation, driving barefoot or with socks could help you quickly move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal.
- Lack of grip
Shoes provide better traction and grip on the pedals, making it easier to control the vehicle. When driving without shoes, your feet may slip off the pedals or not be able to apply the required pressure, causing you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Reduced sensitivity
Shoes also provide a barrier between your feet and the pedals, allowing you to better feel the pressure and movement of the pedals. Without shoes, you may have reduced sensitivity and find it more difficult to accurately control the vehicle.
- Injury risk
If you’re involved in an accident or have to make an emergency stop, your bare feet are vulnerable to injury from debris or sharp objects on the floor or pedals. Shoes can protect your feet from these potential hazards.
- Heat and cold
The temperature inside a car can fluctuate greatly, especially in extreme weather conditions. Driving without shoes may expose your feet to hot or cold surfaces, which can cause discomfort or even burns or frostbite.
Ultimately, the decision to drive without shoes is a personal one that depends on individual comfort and preferences. However, it’s essential to prioritize safety while driving and to follow any applicable traffic laws or regulations in your area. But the main question here is that do you really want to prioritize your comfort over your life?