Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

In the UK there are a lot of laws that relate to driving, including what you can and can’t do and it can be confusing when you add into that the myths and hearsay passed down between generations, such as not being allowed an interior light on in motion.

One area whether there is a lot of misinformation is what you can legally wear on your feet whilst driving. We’ve got all the footwear answers here.

Can I Drive Barefoot?

The short answer is yes, you can. However, it’s a little more complicated than it just being explicitly not against the law.

When driving any motor vehicle it is your responsibility as the driver to be in full control of it at all times. This includes being able to correctly operate controls such as the brake, acceleration and clutch pedals.

When driving barefoot there are a few things that might stop you from being as in control of the vehicle as if you were driving in shoes.

The first is the fact that you might not have the same grip, especially if your feet are damp, sweaty or wet from outdoor activities, and may slip from the pedal.

You will also not have the same braking force as your bare foot weighs less than one in a shoe, and so if you apply the same pressure to the pedal you will not have as powerful impact.

Also, under Rule 97 of the Highway Code drivers are required to wear ‘footwear and clothing which does not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner’ and depending on your ability to operate the pedals when barefoot you might be seen as breaking this rule.

If you are stopped by the police and they consider you not to be in total control of the vehicle or you are involved in an accident whilst barefoot then you could be charged with driving without due care and attention.

Driving without due care and attention can land you a £100 on the spot fine and three points on your licence, or if the charge is taken to court a fine of £5,000 and nine points on your licence or a driving ban.

Can I Drive in Socks?

Just like driving barefoot driving without shoes but in socks is not illegal, but it could still get you in trouble.

You could be charged with driving without due care and attention if your lack of shoes causes you to drive erratically or you are found to be at fault if involved in an accident.

Can I Wear Slippers to Drive?

Yes, you can wear slippers to drive but we don’t advise you do so if you can avoid it. Slippers will not have as thick a sole as a regular shoe so will not give you the same braking force, and typically they will not have as much grip so your feet may slip on the pedal.

Can I Wear Flip-flops to Drive?

Flip-flops pose an additional risk for drivers as they do not have a back to the shoe, and so if the sole is particularly flexible it can be caught under a pedal and stop it from being pushed down as far as it should be which could cause an accident, especially if it impedes the brake pedal.

Again, you could be charged with driving without due care and attention if your flip-flops impede your driving ability. Additionally you may have complications with your insurance provider should you need to make a claim as your footwear choice may void your policy.

Can I Wear High Heels to Drive?

A lot of people wear high heels in their regular life, which includes travelling between places and may involve driving in them.

Driving in higher heels is not illegal but just like other types of footwear you should be careful when driving in them as you might not have full control of the vehicle.

High heels have a few unique problems that you will not experience with other shoe types, and within heels there is a range of heel height and thickness they might be.

A stiletto might slip and get caught under a pedal, similar to a flip-flop, whilst a chunkier platform heel will be more weight against the pedal and cause you to accelerate or brake harshly.

Depending on your height and the length of your heel you might also need to adjust your seat and mirror positioning in order to be able to drive comfortably. You should always make sure that if you move your seat even just one notch that you check your mirrors are all in the correct position for your new eyeline.

Additionally, you might also need to change the placement of your foot on the pedal based on the shoe as your foot will not be sitting flat, as it would in non-heeled shoes.

One way that many drivers avoid the issues associated with driving in heels is to keep a pair of flats in the car with you and switch shoes when driving.

Can I Wear Work Boots to Drive?

We mentioned platform heels being heavier but they’re not the only type of shoe that can affect your braking and accelerating. Work boots, hiking boots, and steel toe cap boots are all thick, high shoes with chunky soles that substantially increases the weight of your feet against the pedals.

Top Tips for Driving Shoes

  1. Don’t drive barefoot, or in your socks, if it’s avoidable
  2. If you do need to drive barefoot make sure your feet are clean and dry
  3. Don’t drive in shoes with a really soft or thin sole that could impact your foot’s pressure on the pedal
  4. Don’t drive in shoes with a really thick sole as they’ll weigh you down
  5. Make sure your shoes have a back and won’t get caught under the pedal, i.e. flip-flops
  6. Avoid shoes where the heel could get caught under the pedal
  7. Wear shoes with enough grip that your feet don’t slip from the pedals
  8. Don’t be afraid to move your seat to accommodate higher heels, and if you do check your mirrors as well
  9. Keep driving shoes in the car so you always have a comfortable pair close by
  10. If you don’t feel in control of the vehicle in those shoes don’t drive in them.
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