Driving Barefoot – Legal or Illegal

As a driving instructor, I was surprised how many times I was asked that very question, “Is driving barefoot legal, or illegal?”

To put it simply, no, it is not illegal to drive barefoot in California, and most other states. There are recommendations in some of the other states, but not in California.  This includes motorcycles.  There is no law saying you must wear shoes when riding a motorcycle.  Common sense should tell you that it’s not a good idea, imagine that stubbed toe, yuck!

I have my own, personal experience, and thoughts, on the subject.

I prefer to drive barefoot.  Winter, Spring, Summer and fall, if I can get my shoe off, I’m driving barefoot!  I can drive with shoes on, but I do not with flip-flops on, ever. I used to wear flip-flops driving occasionally, but not anymore.

Besides the instability of flip-flops, I have had the unfortunate experience of having the sole of the flip-flops I was wearing, get caught under the brake pedal!

Have you ever experienced this?  It is most likely to occur when you must suddenly move your foot from the accelerator pedal to the brake.  The flip-flop doesn’t move as fast as your foot, add to that, that the brake pedal is almost always higher than the accelerator pedal, your flip-flop gets hung up under the pedal.  Trying to dislodge the caught sole of the flip-flop can be difficult, especially now that the toe strap has been stretched.  Just for this reason alone should give anyone enough caution to think twice about driving with flip-flops.

I like to know exactly where my feet are on the pedals instead of gauging where they might be blindly.  Shoes, especially boots, literally make you blind to where your foot is on the pedal.  You’re guessing whether your foot is squarely on the pedal, or not.

Accelerating, and especially braking, is imperative to safe driving, use the method that works best for you, and if that means taking your shoes off to drive barefoot, so be it!

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