Is It Legal to Drive Barefoot in Florida?
Gregg Hollander | October 9, 2020 | Florida Law
It is tempting to jump in the car at the beach to drive home without stopping to put on your shoes. It may be tempting to go without shoes while driving to run errands or take your children to school. However, is it legal to drive barefoot in Florida?
You Can Drive Barefoot in Florida Without Fear of a Traffic Ticket
It is a widespread belief that driving barefoot is illegal. However, that myth is not true. There are no traffic laws in Florida that specifically state that it is illegal to drive without shoes in Florida.
There are no laws in any state that make it illegal to drive a car without shoes. Alabama does have a law that states you must wear shoes when driving or riding on a motorcycle, but not a car.
Therefore, if you want to embrace the Sunshine State’s fantastic weather, the choice is up to you whether or not you need shoes to drive your car. However, just because it is not illegal to drive without shoes in Florida, it does not mean that going barefoot behind the wheel is a wise driving choice.
Is it Dangerous to Drive Barefoot?
Some people believe that driving barefoot can be more dangerous than driving with shoes. It could be that the foot does not have the same grip or traction that a shoe has, so it could be easier for your foot to slip off the gas pedal or the brake pedal.
Driving barefoot can increase the risk of an injury. If you hit your foot while driving, you may become distracted by the injury, which could lead to a distracted driving accident. Likewise, if you are in a traffic accident, you could sustain a greater injury to the foot if you are not wearing shoes.
On the other hand, the choice of some footwear options could also increase the risk of a traffic accident. Flip flops, high-heeled shoes, slippers, and large boots may not be the best choice of footwear while driving.
Slippers and flip-flops can easily slip off your feet. The points of high-heeled shoes can become lodged in the floor mats, and large boots can become lodged between pedals. All of these events could lead to a traffic accident.
Therefore, you may want to give more thought to your choice of shoes while driving. If you prefer to drive barefoot, make sure that your feet are clean and dry. Keep anything out of the floor that could cause an injury to bare feet.
If you want to wear shoes that may not be the best for driving, consider keeping a pair of driving shoes in the vehicle. Change into your driving shoes when you enter the vehicle. When you arrive at your destination, you can slip your other shoes on before getting out of the vehicle.
Reckless Driving Charges Related to Footwear
While there is not a law that makes it illegal to drive barefoot in Florida, a driver could be charged with reckless driving if the shoes or lack of shoes contributed to the cause of the car accident.
For example, if you are wearing flip-flops while driving and one of the shoes comes off. You could be charged with reckless driving if you weave into another lane, while “chasing your shoe” and causing an accident. Likewise, if your foot slips off the brake pedal, causing you to ram into the car in front of you, a police officer might consider driving without shoes as reckless.
Reckless driving is defined as operating a vehicle with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety” of other people or property. It would depend on the situation and the officer whether or not the officer thought your actions were reckless. The charge might not hold up in court, but you may have to pay a lawyer to defend the traffic charge.
Car Accidents Caused by Driving Without Shoes
Even if you are not charged with a traffic offense, if you cause an accident because you were driving barefoot, you can be held liable in civil court for damages.
Victims of the accident can sue you for damages such as medical bills, loss of income, and non-economic laws. If your car insurance coverage does not pay the entire claim in full, you could have a personal judgment filed against you.
It may be worthwhile to consider the potential risks of driving barefoot and driving while wearing specific shoes. You may want to research the various sources that discuss the topic and make an informed decision about what is best for your situation.