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Is it illegal to drive barefoot or in flip flops in the UK? – Here's what you need to know

Is this legal - and what does the law state around driving in flip flops, sandals or marching boots for that matter?

With summer finally here, folk will be out there driving their cars and vans in clothes that don’t come out of the wardrobe that often.

You will witness all manner of horrors from people driving with no top on, swimming tops, vests and crop tops. The usual footwear in these barmy times range from sandals to flip flops and even some opting to drive bare foot.

But is this legal - and what does the law state around driving in particular pieces of footwear?

According to the Driving Standards Agency, the regulatory body for UK driving tests said:

"suitable shoes are particularly important behind the wheel. "We would not recommend driving barefoot because you don't have the same braking force with bare feet as you do with shoes on."

RAC have published some guidelines to follow when choosing which shoes are appropriate to drive in.

Your shoe should:

  • Have a sole no thicker than 10mm.
  • The sole shouldn't however be too thin or soft.
  • Provide enough grip to stop your foot slipping off the pedals.
  • Not be too heavy.
  • Not limit ankle movement.
  • Be narrow enough to avoid accidentally depressing two pedals at once.

RAC extended their recommendation for choosing footwear while driving:

"While light, flimsy and impractical footwear can be dangerous, so can sturdy, robust shoes, such as walking or snow boots.

"It's important to have a good base and grip to apply pressure to the pedals, but you need a certain degree of finesse to manipulate the controls.

"If not, you could strike the brake and accelerator together, producing a heart-in mouth situation.

"Of course, this all doesn't stop some people, plenty of motorists do drive in shoes that afford them the proper control over the car.

"You wouldn't go for a jog in high heels or flip-flops, so why use them when you're behind the wheel."

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Posted on 29th June 2017 at 7:44 PM

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