Category: Car Accident

When you drive in California, you have an obligation to make sure that you don’t put anyone else in harm’s way. State law limits what you can and cannot do behind the wheel. You can’t get behind the wheel if you’re drunk and there are serious restrictions on when and how you can use your cell phone. These laws are in place to protect you and others from getting into serious accidents.

What about wearing shoes? Does California have any laws that strictly prohibit drivers from driving barefoot? The short answer is no. However, you can get in trouble if you decide to drive without shoes. Important to understand how and when driving barefoot could affect you if you get into an accident.

Barefoot Driving Laws

California doesn’t have any laws on the books that explicitly prohibit drivers from operating a car if they’re not wearing shoes. In fact, there is no law – state or federal – that targets barefoot drivers. Instead, drivers have the ability to choose for themselves whether or not they want to wear shoes while operating a motor vehicle.

Even though there are no laws that specifically address footwear, driving barefoot could potentially violate some California state laws. If not wearing shoes contribute to an accident, you may be considered reckless or negligent. Reckless or negligent behavior can result in liability for any harm or injury that result.

Certain Shoes May Increase Crash Risk

Some studies have shown that the type of shoes you wear can affect your ability to drive safely. A study out of England revealed that it’s particularly dangerous to wear flip flops or high heels while driving. It’s estimated that wearing these types of shoes contribute to more than 1.4 million accidents every year.

Flip flops:

  • Can get caught beneath or between pedals;
  • Reduce braking time by as much as .13 seconds; and
  • Limit the force with which a driver can depress the pedals.

High heels:

  • Restrict a driver’s range of motion;
  • Reduce braking time; and
  • Prevent drivers from applying appropriate Force to the brake pedal.

Unfortunately, 40% of all drivers admit to wearing shoes that aren’t best suited for driving.

An Accident Can Be Your Fault If You’re Not Wearing Shoes

Negligence is the leading cause of car accidents in Los Angeles. Can the decision to drive barefoot be considered negligent? Quite possibly, if that decision contributes to an accident.

Let’s say you’re involved in an accident while leaving the beach one day. The driver who hit your car wasn’t wearing shoes at the time of the accident. An investigation reveals that the driver’s foot was wet and slipped off the brake pedal, causing their car to crash into yours. The driver’s decision to drive not only barefoot – but with wet their feet – was risky. You can argue that this decision was negligent. In other words, the driver breached their duty of care to you by driving barefoot and caused you to suffer an injury. If your argument is successful, that driver can be held financially responsible for your damages.

While California law doesn’t say that you’re not allowed to drive barefoot, it’s important to understand that it can still have legal consequences. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles if you are involved in an accident.