Driving 101: Is it illegal to drive barefoot?

Many people believe that it is illegal to drive barefoot. However, it is perfectly legal to drive barefoot in the U.S. However, many states are against driving barefoot, as it may be unsafe. On the other hand, some states believe that barefoot driving could be safer than driving with shoes.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
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UPDATED: Jan 20, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Driving barefoot in the United States is not illegal, but many states have taken a stance and deemed it unsafe
  • On the other hand, some states and police departments say that driving barefoot could be safer than driving with certain types of shoes that can cause your foot to catch under the pedals
  • Even though it is legal to drive barefoot, you could still be cited for distracted or reckless driving if your bare feet are the cause of an accident

If you’ve heard that it is illegal to drive barefoot, you’re not alone. But is this true? Is it illegal to drive barefoot?

Even though many people believe barefoot driving is illegal, that belief is false. It is perfectly legal to drive barefoot in all 50 states. However, many states have taken a stance against it and believe barefoot driving is unsafe.

Read more below to see some states’ opinions on driving barefoot. Ensure that you are driving safely and legally, and that driving barefoot does not affect your auto insurance.

Before you learn about the law and driving without shoes, compare some car insurance rates. Enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool above to get affordable auto insurance quotes from companies in your area.

Is it illegal to drive barefoot?

In which states is it illegal to drive barefoot? None. In most states, it is perfectly legal to drive barefoot, but they also consider it to be an unsafe practice. Let’s look at some of the stances that states have taken regarding driving while barefoot:

State Opinions on Driving Barefoot
StateOpinion Regarding Driving Barefoot
AlabamaDrivers are allowed to drive barefoot, unless operating a motorcycle.
Arizona, Arkansas, California, & NevadaIt is legal to drive barefoot, but you could face charges or fines if barefoot driving contributes to an accident.
Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, & WyomingIt is legal to drive barefoot but is considered unsafe.
MichiganThe Michigan State Police Traffic Service Section states that barefoot driving could arguably be safer than driving with shoes.
MinnesotaA state trooper states that driving barefoot is likely safer than driving with flip flops or other footwear that could get stuck under pedals.
MissouriThe state formally considers barefoot driving unsafe, but some officials have argued that it is safer than driving with flip flops, high heels, or wedges.
TennesseeIt is not illegal, but individuals towns may have ordinances.
VirginiaIt is not illegal but considered unsafe, and drivers are told to drive wearing shoes with closed heels.
WisconsinIt is legal to drive barefoot, and some officials condone the practice, since it is safer than wearing some types of shoes.
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Some towns may have laws against driving barefoot, so it may be best to drive with shoes on at all times to make sure that you don’t have to face the consequences of these laws.

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Why do people believe that driving barefoot is illegal?

It is unknown how people came to believe that driving barefoot is illegal. It may just be a misconception derived from the fact that most people drive with shoes on. However, since many people believe that driving barefoot is dangerous, this could have morphed into the myth that it is illegal.

Another reason people believe that driving barefoot is illegal may be that many police departments take an official stance against barefoot driving. In some cases, people are also cited for barefoot driving if it contributes to an accident.

However, just because the practice may be unsafe, this doesn’t mean that barefoot driving is illegal. And, even if police officers discourage driving barefoot, if there are no existing laws against it, they can’t do anything more than discourage it.

Why is it unsafe to drive barefoot?

Is driving barefoot bad? Driving barefoot may be considered unsafe by some people. However, some people believe driving barefoot is safer than driving while wearing certain types of shoes. Below are some reasons why driving barefoot may be a safety risk:

  • Bare feet may slip off the pedals more easily than shoes, especially if your feet are wet.
  • You may not be able to press the brake pedal as hard without shoes.
  • Driving barefoot may be considered distracted or reckless driving, leading to charges if it contributes to an accident.
  • Bare feet could leave you at risk of not being able to leave a car or create distance between yourself and an accident.
  • Some towns may have ordinances against barefoot driving.

Even though driving barefoot is not illegal, you should consider your footwear (or lack thereof) carefully when driving. 

Which shoes are the safest for driving?

In some cases, it may be safer to drive barefoot than to wear certain types of footwear while driving.

For example, flip flops, sandals with an open heel, high heels, wedges, thick-soled shoes, shoes with long laces, and slip-on shoes may be dangerous for driving. These type of shoes can get caught underneath a pedal and make it difficult to gauge how hard you’re pressing the pedal.

When you’re picking shoes to wear while driving, it is best to choose a pair that has a low or no heel and some traction to grip the pedal. The soles should not be too thick. In addition, close-toed shoes are preferred over open-toed shoes. Shoes should also be the right size — not too big to slip off or too tight and uncomfortable.

Is driving in socks illegal? While this is also not illegal, it could pose some risks. For example, socks can be slippery or get caught on the pedals, so it is generally not recommended to drive while wearing only socks.

Since driving barefoot is not illegal, your auto insurance company will still cover you. However, if driving barefoot causes an accident, your insurance company may deem you at fault for an accident and deny a claim.

Now that we’ve covered the laws regarding driving barefoot, see how much money you could be saving. If you are looking for auto insurance, enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below to find affordable rates from companies near you.

  1. https://barefootislegal.org/driving/

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