Can I Drive Barefoot?

With spring break just around the corner, many of my clients have been asking this same question: Can I drive barefoot?

While my law enforcement background assisted with my initial response, I am a few years removed from patrol - and since laws get amended and punishments change, I did some research to assure my answer is current. Popular search engines pulled up varying responses. Even when searching legally based engines such as Lexis Nexis, I couldn't find anything definitive. After digging into my old code books and coming up empty-handed, I made one last effort and called my local Police Department.

I spoke with an Officer who attempted varying searches of Lexis Nexis with similar outcomes. Neither of us could find a definitive answer. While we couldn't find a law specific to driving barefoot, there are still a few things to consider: 

Warning. Math ahead.

While it may not be illegal to drive barefoot, it is still not recommended. Removing your shoes before departing comes with its own variables. Where did you put your shoes? Are they on the floorboard increasing the risk of them sliding under a pedal? If you're hoping to be safer by throwing them in the backseat, remember that any loose item in your cabin will become a projectile in a crash. Since kinetic energy is (1/2) mass * (velocity)^2, and assuming a flip-flop weight .5 pounds, it will carry 900 joules of force in a 60 mile per hour crash. In other words, if hit by the flip-flop, theoretically your body will have to absorb 663 foot-pounds of force. I realize the variables in this example are numerous, but variables and numerics aside, it will be quite an unpleasant experience.

Driver Safety.

While shoes may be uncomfortable, especially after a long day at school or work, they do provide a driver with a rigid contact surface. A solid contact surface increases pedal control with regards to pressure sensitivity. Since driving with a balanced car and avoiding unnecessary weight transfers is key, controlling both acceleration and deceleration with minimal force is necessary. Driving barefoot will hinder pedal control and pressure sensitivity increasing risk unnecessarily. 

Slippery when wet.

Feet sweat. Enough said.

While I couldn't find anything specifically outlawing barefoot driving, I continue to recommend driving with soft-soled, close-toed shoes for an optimal driving experience.

For driving or travel related questions, or to submit an idea for consideration, visit https://www.dillmandrivingschool.comor send me a message - You may also DM on Insta @dillmandrivingschool