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Barefoot Behind the Wheel: Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot? 

Are you someone who likes to kick off the shoes (and socks) to feel the accelerator and brake pedals under your toes? Maybe you’ve been wondering if it is illegal to drive without shoes. Relax: It is not illegal to drive barefoot anywhere in the U.S., although the myth that it is persists to this day. 

Some traffic laws, such as the necessity of having auto insurance, are almost universal and are well-known. Barefoot driving, however, does not fall under those laws. So, it’s not illegal, but is it safe? That’s debatable. Learn more below. 

Unraveling the Legalities of Barefoot Driving 

If you were to survey your friends, you might find that more than half of them believe it is illegal to drive without shoes. Ask them why, and you might not get more than mumbles or shoulder shrugs. 

But, while it might be the wrong decision in a lot of situations, driving without shoes is not a moving violation in any state. It’s just something you should consider carefully before doing. 

Why Do People Believe It’s Illegal? 

If you’re barefoot, chances are that you’re in a pretty good mood. You’ve been to a picnic, or you’re on your way to the beach. Maybe you have a car full of friends who are in as festive a mood as you are. 

As the driver of this party ride, is your attention on the road in front of, behind, and all around you? Or are you distracted by laughing and chatting with your pals or listening to loud music on your phone? 

The point is that it’s important to avoid driving distractions, and being barefoot might seem to be associated with reckless and negligent driving. This might make it feel illegal, but it’s not. 

Potential Dangers of Driving Barefoot 

Similar to seat belt laws, wearing shoes while driving provides added protection. It gives you better control, improves pedal grip, and minimizes the risk of your foot slipping off the brake or accelerator at critical moments. 

Another concern might be if you’re pulled over. To the traffic cop, you might not look like you were being totally serious in the operation of your vehicle. You won’t be fined for barefoot driving, but you might not get the benefit of the doubt before the officer writes you up for speeding or some other moving violations. 

Little boy in sunglasses sitting in a car with his bare feet on the steering wheel wearing a tie - cheap car insurance.

The Argument for Driving Barefoot 

It can be a judgment call as to whether you should wear footwear or go shoeless at any particular time. For instance, if it’s the middle of winter and you’ve been out hiking in thick-soled boots that have iced over, keeping them on might be a serious mistake. Your feet could slip off the pedals, and you might feel nothing at all. 

In that instance, the safest action you can take is to remove your boots and drive without footwear if you don’t have another pair of dry and thinner-soled shoes available. 

In the summertime, you might face a similar challenge if you’re wearing flip-flops that could get tangled with the pedals. Again, remove your footwear and go barefoot for a safer ride. 

Car Safety Recommendations Regarding Footwear 

Listen to your feet. If they feel uncomfortable or like they’re not going to fully engage your car’s pedals because of what you have — or don’t have — on your feet, take action. Correct the problem before you hit the gas. 

Make sure your shoes are tied before you drive. Avoid wearing thick-soled boots, flimsy flip-flops, or anything else that can prevent instant responsiveness. Wear shoes with good traction and soles thin enough that you can feel the pedals. 

If you have a spare pair of good driving shoes, leave them in your car in case you need to make a switch. 

Conclusion: To Drive or Not to Drive Barefoot 

What works best for you? How can you stay safe and feel confident in your vehicle? 

Your default decision should always be to wear good shoes while operating a vehicle. But if you must drive barefoot, you won’t be in trouble with the law. Just be careful. The bottom line is that your main goal should be to avoid stress while driving and stay safe

Protect Your Car (and Your Feet) 

Is it against the law to drive barefoot? That shouldn’t matter. When you’re behind the wheel of your car, stay focused. Don’t be distracted by your phone, passengers, music, or any difficulty controlling the pedals due to your choice of footwear (or decision to wear none). 

For added protection, see your Acceptance Insurance auto insurance agent. Call us at (877) 405-7102 or get a quick quote online. You can also find an office near you and schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable agents. 

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