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Is Driving in Flip Flops Dangerous?

With summer well on its way, there’s a good chance you’ll want to get with the season and start wearing sandals or even flip flops all the time, even while driving. However, you might want to reconsider your preferred shoe choice, as it may actually threaten your life to wear the wrong kind of footwear. According to a recent study in Great Britain, headed by an insurance company called Sheila’s Wheels, wearing flip flops while driving poses certain dangers, with flimsy footwear resulting in roughly 1.4 million accidents and close calls every year—and these are stats motorists should not take lightly.

The poll even revealed flip flops could be more dangerous to drive in than a set of high heels, as they’re less attached to your feet and can make braking difficult. When compared with high heels, flip flops double the time it takes to get your foot into position on the accelerator from the brake. Out of 1,055 surveyed drivers, one third admitted to wearing flip flops while in the driver’s seat, and 27 percent of this group also said their flip flops have led to some kind of accident or misfortune.

Another eye-opening statistic from this poll found that one out of nine women confessed to one of their flip flops getting caught beneath the pedals while driving. Due to driving simulators, Shelia’s Wheels found that shoes like flip flops can actually slow down someone’s braking time by around 0.13 seconds. Of those surveyed, one out of five stated they wouldn’t have thought the type of shoes you wear could lessen your safety behind the wheel.

“It’s worrying that so many drivers out there do not realize the impact their footwear choices can have on their safety at the wheel,” Jacky Brown, a spokesperson for Sheila’s Wheels, stated. “Millions may think they can drive safely but may not realize the shortcomings of the flip flop until it’s too late—putting themselves, their passengers, and other drivers at risk every time they get in the car.” Beyond flip flops, other types of inadequate footwear for driving include platforms, sandals with a lot of straps, wedge heels, stiletto heels, knee-high boots, ankle-high boots, thick-soled tennis and running shoes, non-gripping footwear like bowling shoes, and bare feet.

Heavy and thick soles can make it much harder to feel your car’s pedals and get stuck often, and loose shoes can slip on pedals and even expose feet to uncomfortable abrasions. Boots are usually too restrictive for ankle movement while anything that comes up to your knees can catch on your seat. At this time, regrettably, there aren’t any driving laws that we know about that forbid people from driving with sandals. While individuals must always operate vehicles safely and responsibly, no state currently makes a list of acceptable shoes in their driving statutes.

Do you or someone you know need behind the wheel training in New Jersey? Training Wheels Driving School is a Brigantine driving school specializing in teaching new teen drivers how to drive safely. With hundreds of teens having gone through our program, our record speaks for itself. To schedule your driving lessons, give us a call at (609-241-0118). For more information about our driving lessons, click here.

Photo By deyangeorgiev