Miami, FL has some of the best beaches in the nation. When the sun finally goes down and you’re ready to call it a day, you may wonder if it’s okay to drive home barefoot. You’ve heard that it’s illegal to drive if you’re not wearing shoes, but you’re confident that wearing flip flops is dangerous. What should you do? Does Florida state law really forbid drivers from driving while barefoot?
Florida Barefoot Driving Laws
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not illegal to drive barefoot in the state of Florida. In fact, it’s legal to drive barefoot in every state across the country. You were probably told that it’s illegal to drive without shoes because (a) some believe that driving barefoot can be dangerous and (b) someone wanted to keep you safe.
While there are no laws explicitly prohibiting barefoot driving, many states encourage drivers to wear safe shoes when operating a motor vehicle. The Virginia DMV tells drivers that “proper shoes play a big part in safety.” While driving without shoes isn’t against the law, the state has concerns that “vehicle controls can be compromised.”
Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to wear shoes while driving is up to each individual.
Many Believe Driving Barefoot is Dangerous
Barefoot driving is legal, but many still believe that the practice is unnecessarily dangerous. Why? Some argue:
- Driving barefoot decreases the pressure drivers can apply to the brakes.
- Feet are vulnerable to elements and environmental factors.
- Feet can get injured and distract drivers.
- Bare feet are prone to slipping off of the gas or brake pedals.
Despite these reasons, Florida has not opted to outlaw the practice of driving without shoes. One reason for this may be due to the fact that driving barefoot may actually be safer than driving while wearing certain types of shoes.
Flip Flops, High Heels May Increase Crash Risk
A fair number of drivers believe that wearing certain types of shoes – including high heels, flip flops, and platforms – makes driving more dangerous. One British study suggests that these drivers may be correct. The study revealed that unsafe shoe choices contribute to an estimated 1.4 million accidents every year.
Flip flops and high heels, in particular, are considered to be risky choices because these shoes can:
- Reduce the force drivers can apply to the brakes
- Increase the time it takes a driver to hit the brakes
- Slip and get stuck underneath or between pedals, and
- Limit a driver’s ability to switch from the gas pedal to the brakes, and vice versa.
In light of these factors, many drivers opt to wear no shoes at all.
You May Be Negligent For Driving Barefoot
It’s not illegal to drive barefoot. However, your decision to skip the shoes could still land you in some serious legal trouble. You have a duty to drive safely and make choices that reduce the likelihood of getting into a car accident.
It’s possible that your choice to drive barefoot could contribute to an accident in some way. If this happens, you could be considered negligent. As a result, you could be totally or partly liable for resulting damages or injuries. You’ll need to consult with an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer if you find yourself in this situation.