September 7, 2020 | Oklahoma Law
There’s a common belief that it’s illegal to drive barefoot in Oklahoma or any other state. You may have heard it from your parents. They probably heard it from their parents. However, in truth, no state has a law on the books that makes it illegal to drive a car while barefoot.
The supposed law against driving barefoot probably arose as a cautionary tale and spread so far that many people assumed it was against the law. Though Oklahoma has it’s a fair share of strange laws, many of which go back decades or more, it is perfectly legal to drive barefoot. However, just because it is legal does not mean it is the safest choice for responsible driving.
Driving with appropriate footwear for safety is still a good idea.
Appropriate Footwear for Driving
Drivers should wear appropriate shoes at all times while operating a motor vehicle. Driving barefoot does pose a hazard as it can make it easier for your foot to slip off the brake, or you could hurt your foot on a loose item in the floorboard of the car, causing you to react by removing your foot from the brake. Other footwear that isn’t a good idea while driving:
The accelerator and brake pedals in a vehicle are designed to be used while your heel rests flat on the floorboard. With your heels resting on the floor, you can move your foot quickly from the gas to the brake if needed. High heels interfere with this process and can slow the reaction time leading to an accident. In heels, you also distort your perception of how much pressure is needed on either the brake or gas.
Flip flops are also not appropriate footwear for driving. They can bend, or break, and get jammed beneath the brake when they do. When this happens, it can be impossible to bring your car to a stop safely. Flip flops can also make it challenging to maintain the correct pressure on the pedals or move from one pedal to another quickly.
Self Magazine cited several studies that suggested flip flops may cause up to 1.3 million accidents a year. In a British study, 27% of respondents admitted that flip flops had contributed to an automobile accident in which they had been involved. Flip flops may double the amount of time it takes to move from the accelerator to the brake, making it obvious why this type of shoe is a dangerous choice for driving.
Sandals can pose the same risk as flip flops in allowing the straps of the sandals to become tangled around the brake and accelerator, causing difficulty in adequately controlling the speed of the car.
Fortunately, for those who love an array of footwear, the solution is simple. Keep a pair of fitted flats in your car just for driving. Change into your footwear of choice when you reach your destination, which allows you to drive safely and comfortably while not sacrificing the fashion or comfort you want. Keeping an extra set of shoes in your car is also a wise choice for winter when ice or snowmelt can make the pedals slippery, causing your foot to slip off and result in a car accident.
Doing Your Part to Avoid Car Accidents
The roadways are dangerous, and there are many factors you cannot control. However, doing your part to make sure you are not responsible for an accident can significantly reduce your chance of being hurt in a vehicle accident. Safe footwear is one small thing you can do to protect yourself and others.
Take measures to avoid distracted driving. Behind the wheel of an automobile is not the place for multi-tasking. Avoid cellphone use at all if possible, and use hands-free if you must use the phone. Set your GPS before you put the car in gear, and pull over to hand something to a crying child, or to reach something that fell. Remember, it is illegal to text while driving in Oklahoma. Distracted driving is responsible for the death and injuries of thousands of people a year in the United States.
Wear your seatbelt, and make sure all passengers in your vehicle are secured in an appropriate restraint device. Children up to the age of eight must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the backseat. Wearing a seatbelt cuts your risk of death in half, and also dramatically reduces your risk of serious injury in a car accident, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration.
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident caused by another driver, you are entitled to compensation for the losses and injuries sustained. Contact an experienced Oklahoma personal injury attorney for a free consultation about how to get the compensation you deserve.