July 21, 2020 | Oklahoma Law
A common myth is that you cannot drive barefoot in Oklahoma. No one knows for sure where the myth began, but many parents lecture their teenage drivers that it is against the law to drive barefoot.
Regardless of the lectures and threats of traffic tickets, many teen drivers and adult drivers take their shoes off when they are driving. Can they get a traffic ticket for driving barefoot in Oklahoma?
Traffic Tickets for Driving Barefoot in Oklahoma
No, you cannot get a traffic ticket for driving without shoes in Oklahoma. There are no traffic laws in Oklahoma that prevent drivers from operating a car while barefoot.
However, that does not mean that it is safe to drive barefoot. In some cases, driving without shoes could increase your risk for an automobile accident. Auto accidents can cause traumatic injuries, such as:
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Burns and Scarring
- Brain Injuries
- Chest Injuries
- Seat Belt and Airbag Injuries
- Soft Tissue Injuries
If a driver causes a car accident while driving barefoot, that driver can be liable for the injuries and damages caused by the car crash. While car insurance may cover some of the damages in a car accident claim, drives could be held personally liable for any damages that exceed their coverage amounts.
Damages Caused by a Barefoot Driving Accident
The damages caused by an accident can be significant. Damages include physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial losses. Typical damages in a car accident claim include:
- Past and future medical bills and expenses
- Past and future loss of income and benefits
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Decreased earning potential
- In-home health care and personal care costs
- Loss of quality of life
- Disabilities and impairments
- Mental anguish and suffering
- Other financial expenses related to the accident, injuries, and recovery
You can decrease the chance that someone will file a car accident claim against you for driving barefoot by practicing safe driving behaviors.
Safety Risks of Driving Barefoot in Oklahoma
Driving barefoot can pose some risks. Your foot does not have the same traction as a pair of good driving shoes. Therefore, your foot could slip off the pedal, thereby causing an accident.
When your foot slips off the gas pedal, the sudden decrease in speed could cause another driver to rear-end your vehicle. Likewise, if your foot slips off the brake pedal, you could cause a rear-end accident.
Driving barefoot can also cause a distracted driving accident.
Many drivers leave their shoes on the floor. Shoes can roll around while the car is moving. Trying to move the shoes while driving can cause a distraction that results in a car crash.
Some safety tips to remember if you are going to drive without shoes are:
- Never drive with wet feet. Always dry your feet off before driving
- Move your shoes to the back seat or the passenger seat to avoid distractions while driving
- Make sure that you put your entire upper foot on the pedal. Driving with your toes increases the chance your foot could slip off the pedal
When you drive with shoes on, make sure that you choose a good pair of driving shoes. The type of shoes that you wear while driving can also increase your risk of a traffic accident.
What Shoes Should I Wear to Drive a Car?
In most cases, a good pair of tennis shoes or sneakers provide the support and traction a person needs while driving. You can find specially made driving shoes that are designed for driving automobiles.
Shoes that you may want to avoid while driving include, but are not limited to:
- Flip-flops – These shoes do not provide very much support while driving. Your foot can easily slip out of these shoes, causing the same problems that driving barefoot causes
- Bedroom Shoes and Slides – These shoes are also not intended for driving. Your foot slips out of these shoes too easily if you are not careful
- Heavy Boots – Wide, heavy boots can become wedged between the pedals of a vehicle. You may not be able to control the brakes or the speed if the boot is stuck
- High Heels – High heels present a problem if the heel becomes stuck in the carpet or the floor mat. Also, high heeled shoes do not have a lot of surface area to come into contact with the pedal
It can be a good idea to keep a good pair of driving shoes or tennis shoes in your car. Many people change shoes when they are driving to avoid the risk of a traffic accident.