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Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot in Florida?

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Car Accidents on December 10, 2018

Many drivers wonder whether it is legal to drive barefoot in Florida. Certain types of footwear can cause problems while driving, and sometimes a driver may feel more comfortable by simply slipping off trouble some shoes and driving barefoot. Simply put, it is legal to drive barefoot in Florida and anywhere else in the country. No laws specifically state that it is legal to do so, but no laws explicitly outlaw the practice.

The only state that currently has any type of law against driving barefoot is Alabama, but the Alabama law only pertains to motorcycles. If you ride a motorcycle in Alabama, you must do so while wearing enclosed shoes or other footwear.

Is it Illegal to Drive Barefoot in Florida

Why Drive Barefoot?

Many types of shoes can actually be dangerous for driving. Open-heeled shoes like sandals and flip-flops have a tendency to slip off the foot, and these shoes could potentially delay accelerating or braking or become lodged under the vehicle’s pedals and cause an accident. High-heeled shoes can become stuck in floor mats, and shoes with minimal treads on the bottom may slip off the pedals easily.

If a driver’s shoes make it difficult to maintain control over the vehicle’s pedals, then it is safest to remove the problematic shoes and drive barefoot. This may be uncomfortable for some drivers, and it is important to remember that driving barefoot is safer than driving in any type of socks. Unless a driver’s socks have some type of gripping pattern on the bottom, socks can easily slip off of the brake or gas pedal and cause a serious accident. A bare foot, on the other hand, can contour to the pedal more easily and provide more traction than a socked foot.

Cautions Against Driving Barefoot

If a driver removes his or her shoes to drive more comfortably, it is essential to ensure the driver’s shoes and socks do not remain near the driver’s feet. Changes in elevation and turns can cause these items to shift and potentially become stuck under the pedals. Instead of removing shoes and socks to drive barefoot, it may be better to simply wear comfortable sneakers while driving and then change shoes at your destination.

It is also important to remember that although no law against driving barefoot exists in Florida, doing so could potentially lead to reckless driving charges. If you get into an accident and a responding officer believes that your lack of footwear contributed to the accident, this could constitute grounds for a reckless driving charge.

Best Practices When It Comes to Footwear and Driving

Any driver who is unsure about the safety or legality of driving barefoot can keep a few best practices in mind to limit the chance of an accident and minimize the potential for reckless driving charges.

  • Wear appropriate footwear. If you intend to wear sandals, high heels, or other types of shoes that make driving difficult once you reach your destination, consider wearing more comfortable, safer footwear like socks and sneakers during the car trip and changing shoes once you arrive at your destination.
  • Change when safe to do so. If you find your shoes are causing problems while driving, do not attempt to remove them while your vehicle is in motion. Find a place to pull over or park and then remove your shoes. Attempting to remove them while driving technically constitutes distracted driving and could potentially cause an accident.
  • Move removed shoes from the driver’s seat area. Place your removed shoes in the passenger seat or backseat after removing them. Remember, you do not want them rolling under the pedals and preventing you from accelerating or braking when you need to do so.

If you were recently injured by a driver who was distracted by their footwear, it is important to know your rights and legal options. Contact a knowledgeable Tampa car accident attorney if you find yourself in this situation.