I love updating my wife’s family on my adventures with this website. Last night I was talking about how I was going to write an article on figuring out if it was illegal or not to drive barefoot. Moments after mentioning this I hear a voice from the kitchen yell “IT’S NOT ILLEGAL TO DRIVE BAREFOOT!”. At that point I knew it was a touchy topic but I really had to find out for myself, is driving barefoot illegal? This is what I have found out!
No, it is not illegal to drive barefoot. In fact, there is no law against driving barefoot in any state. The main concern when driving barefoot is safety, and being able to feel the pedals is crucial for keeping control of the vehicle. Additionally, having your feet on the pedals is actually better for traction than wearing shoes that could slip or cause you to lose focus while on the road.
When you continue reading I’ll explain my experience with driving barefoot and what other people also say about it.
Can You Get In Trouble For Driving Barefoot?
Given it’s not illegal most people think there is no recourse for you driving barefoot, and that is correct to some degree. Though when driving barefoot causes you to crash is when authorities can step in and use your new driving habits against you.
An example of this would be Maine. You see, if a driver operating a vehicle while barefoot is found at fault for an incident in which being barefoot was considered a cause, they could be cited under Maine’s distracted driver law. Fines for a first time offender are $50. Fines can escalate of repeat offenders up to $250 per offense.
This seems to be a similar trend in other states as well. Here is a table of states that are following the same suite as Maine:
|Alabama||Driving a motor vehicle barefoot is permitted but motorcycle riders must wear some type of footwear.|
|Alaska||Driving a motor vehicle barefoot is not illegal but motorcyclists should wear proper footwear.|
|Arizona, Arkansas, California, Nevada||It is not illegal to drive barefoot but you could be charged with reckless driving or face civil fines if driving barefoot contributes to an accident.|
Something important to not is some cities or counties do have laws against barefoot driving so it’s important to know your local rules before hopping behind the wheel sans shoes.
Advantages of Barefoot Driving
Now that we’re past the whole legal conversation let’s dive a little deeper into understand why people enjoy driving barefoot, and to do this I had to refer to my wife’s family and to try driving barefoot myself.
Here are a few advantages to driving barefoot:
- Could Be Safer*: This is more the folks that wear alternate footwear then the normal sneakers. Think about if you’re getting into car with a pair of high heels on or sandals, once you start driving it could be a little difficult to feel control over the pedals. This is why I have noticed most people who drive barefoot is they potentially have a better gauge of their pedals with their bare feet.
- Better Feeling: Not trying to be weird here but everyone knows that your feet are some of the most sensitive parts of your body. When I drove around the block with just my feet I noticed that the pedals were heavier and I could feel them more clearly than with my shoes on. Would I drive down the interstate, I’m not sure but I do not there is better feeling.
- Comfortability: Some people seem to find it more comfortable to drive barefoot than wear shoes during their drive. My wife’s mother is one of those people. She states that “it just makes me feel more comfortable and doesn’t put pressure on my feet”.
- Better Gas Mileage: This is a point I found while scrounging the internet but some people think that since you have a better feel for the pedal, some people claim they have noticed an increase in their gas mileage while driving barefoot.
Disadvantages of Driving Barefoot
Now what’s the other side look like? Though there are people who swear by driving barefoot, there are others who think it’s the most dangerous thing in the world to be doing. Here are some potential risks I have found.
- Worsened Injuries: When my empty foot was pressing on the pedal driving 80mph down the highway I kept imagining what it would be like if I wrecked with no foot protection on. Then as I was writing this article I can across a Florida state trooper telling this story: “I received a phone call from my cousin. Unfortunately, she was involved in a serious car crash along I-4 close to the attractions,” he said. “I responded and once I got on scene, I realized how bad her injuries were. She was not wearing any shoes while driving and when the collision happened, her right foot slammed into the accelerator. This caused some serious injuries as her foot was split between the big toe and the next toe.”
- Opportunity for Accidents: When I was searching through Quora and Reddit for answers and I stumbled up on an old driving instructors post in which he stated: “Imagine that you’re driving barefoot, following your girlfriend in her car. For some reason, she hits the brakes. So, you hit the brake pedals, too. Unfortunately, there was a small pebble in the grooves of the brake pedal. What’s going to happen when your bare foot slams into the pebble? You will feel a shooting pain, and your foot will automatically recoil. Your foot comes off the brake, and you plow into the back of your girlfriend’s car. THAT’S why.”
As you can see, these are stories from people that have suffered at the expense of people driving barefoot. It’s always important to consider others when making this decision.
What About Driving A Motorcycle Barefoot?
I will say I have never driven a motorcycle on the road before but I cannot imagine that you would one bit feel secure in doing it barefoot but it seems only 1 state agrees with me.
The following is the single state I found with this requirement:
- Alabama: No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle unless he is wearing shoes. (Apparently, a “motor-driven cycle” refers to a bicycle with a motor attached, listed as a different type of machine from a motorcycle.)
Although it may not be the safest option, people are legally allowed to ride motorcycles barefoot in most states. Even in California, which is usually very safety-conscious when it comes to lawmaking, individuals are permitted to rid a motorcycle sans shoes. However, the state does caution against doing this.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can you still be insured if you drive barefoot?
Insurance companies are usually skeptical on what you do behind the wheel and if it’s in the best interest to insure you during those activities. If you’re worried that your driving habits might not be covered then it would be best to check with them directly to see if they have any stipulations around barefoot driving.
Can police pull you over for driving barefoot?
In most states, it is not illegal to drive barefoot so it would be unlikely for a police officer to pull you over solely for that reason. However, if being barefoot hinders your ability to properly operate the vehicle and results in unsafe driving behaviors, you could potentially be pulled over for reckless or negligent driving.
Is there any data on accidents caused by barefoot drivers?
I wasn’t able to find any statistics on driving barefoot but it would be a great study to create one day!
In conclusion, it is legal to drive barefoot in most states but is not always the safest option. Factors such as worsened injuries, opportunity for accidents, and what is covered by insurance can all impact whether or not it is wise to drive barefoot. If you are thinking about doing so, be sure to consider these risks and take any necessary precautions to stay safe on the road.
I probably won’t be driving barefoot anytime soon but you do what you feel is necessary!