Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | March 19, 2020
Yes, it is legal to drive barefoot in Georgia. In fact, there are no laws in any state in the U.S. that specifically forbid driving without shoes. Myths and rumors often say that it is illegal to drive barefoot, however, that is simply not the case. You are within your right to take off your shoes to drive if you want to. However, there are some added safety concerns and you could open yourself up to some litigation if you choose to drive barefoot.
Why Drive Barefoot?
For some, driving barefoot is a comfort issue. It can be a relief to kick off your uncomfortable shoes once you get in your car after a long day of work. This can be especially true if you have a long commute. Proponents of driving barefoot also say that it offers the driver more sensory control because they feel the precise movement of the pedal. They can also detect things on the pedals that could hinder driving like small rocks, pebbles, or even water.
Other times, drivers prefer to drive barefoot for safety reasons. If they are wearing high heels or flip-flops, it may actually be safer to take off those shoes and drive barefoot. High heels do not offer a good grip on a pedal and flip-flops can easily slip off, especially if the ground is wet. This is also true if the driver is wearing heavy work boots that could hinder their ability to apply appropriate pressure to the gas or brake pedals.
There are precautions to take if you choose to drive barefoot. First, make sure that you store your shoes away from the driver’s side. Preferably, place them in the back seat or over in the passenger area. You don’t want them to get caught under the brake or gas pedals. This could cause you to have difficulties braking, accelerating, or stopping. You should also be mindful of your driving habits. Are you a better driver when barefoot? Then go ahead and do it. However, if your feet tend to slip or you find yourself driving distracted without shoes, it is probably best that you do not drive barefoot.
Is it Safe to Drive Barefoot?
In general, safety experts and law enforcement agencies encourage drivers to never drive barefoot. It is suggested to keep a comfy pair of driving shoes in your car if you tend to wear uncomfortable shoes, high heels, work boots, flip-flops. You can then change into the other pair of shoes to drive.
Advocates for wearing shoes when driving claim that barefoot driving is unsafe and makes it more difficult to drive. The main concern is that barefoot driving does not offer the same tread that a sneaker or other shoe does. This means that the foot is more likely to slip off a pedal and cause a wreck.
As mentioned above, another main criticism for driving barefoot is that shoes can get stuck under the pedals and cause an accident. Most people who drive barefoot tend to kick off their shoes and leave them by the pedals on the driver’s side of the vehicle. This can cause unsafe driving conditions because the shoes may roll around and get stuck or cause the driver to become distracted.
Are there any Instances where you could get in trouble for Driving Barefoot?
It is not illegal to drive barefoot in Georgia or in any state in the U.S. However, you could open yourself to liability if you choose to drive without shoes and get into a car accident. You could get a reckless driving charge if the police determine that your driving barefoot contributed to the wreck. If you were trying to locate a lost shoe or were somehow otherwise distracted because of being barefoot, you also risk getting a ticket for distracted driving.
Driving barefoot could also expose you to civil litigation. A court could find you negligent for driving without shoes in certain conditions. If this negligence was the reason for an accident that caused someone’s injuries, you may be found liable and have to pay compensation to the victim.
Driving barefoot is allowed only in closed vehicles like cars, vans, or trucks. It is not legal in Georgia to ride a motorcycle barefoot. The law requires that all drivers and passengers wear “some type of footwear in addition to or other than socks”. While not illegal per se, it is also not advisable to wear sandals, flip-flops, or high heels while operating a motorcycle or scooter.