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Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot in NY?

Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot in NY?

man driving home after work

You have been in uncomfortable shoes all day long. Once you get into your car to drive home, you may be tempted to kick them off and drive barefoot. Before you do, it is important to know whether or not this practice is illegal, and the consequences you may face for driving shoeless.

Is It Against the Law to Drive Barefoot in NY?

In New York, there is no legal statute that prohibits motorists from driving barefoot. There is also no law on the books that specifically mentions footwear while driving. If law enforcement pulls you over while you are driving and you are barefoot, the police officer cannot give you a ticket based on that fact alone.

Still, there are certain consequences you may face for driving barefoot. If you are involved in an accident while barefoot, the negligent party, or the insurance company that covers them, may argue that you were at least partly to blame for the crash. They may even argue that you were completely at fault for the accident. If a court agrees, you may be held liable for paying full damages for the injuries and other losses the accident caused.

Driving Barefoot Does Pose Some Risks

Although it is not against the law to drive barefoot, there are some risks associated with the practice. Driving while barefoot feels very different from driving with proper footwear on. You may find the feel of the pedal on your barefoot is very different, and the vibration of the pedals can become a distraction.

People who drive barefoot are also more likely to apply too much pressure to the brake or gas pedal, which can cause a very serious accident. When the pedals or the feet are wet, your feet may be more likely to slide off of one of the pedals, which also poses a danger. If there is a sudden situation on the roads that requires you to act quickly, these small problems can become very big issues that can cause an accident.

The Type of Shoes Matter

Many people wonder if it is illegal to wear flip-flops while driving. Flip-flops and other sandals are very popular during the hot summer months in New York. After wearing them to run your errands in the city, though, can you get behind the wheel of your car and drive?

Again, the legal statutes in the state do not mention driving barefoot, nor do they say anything about wearing flip-flops while behind the wheel. This does not necessarily mean that wearing flip-flops while driving is a safe practice.

Backless shoes such as flip-flops are not very sturdy. Because there is no support in the back of the shoe, your foot can easily slip out of the sandal while you are driving. Backless shoes can also become lodged under the brake or gas pedal. If you need to accelerate or slow down very quickly, this can be very dangerous. Other types of footwear that are not secured around the ankle, such as slippers, pose the same types of risks.

Flip flops and other types of sandals and slippers are not the only types of footwear that could pose a threat to drivers. Platform shoes, wedges, and other types of shoes that have thick and inflexible soles can also be hazardous for drivers. These shoes can make it more difficult for you to know where your foot is touching. Your foot may not be on the pedal you think it is, or your foot could slip off of one pedal and onto the other unintentionally.

Stilettos and other high heels can also make driving safely more challenging. To drive safely, the heel of your foot should be firmly on the floor of the car. High heels do not allow for this, and they will also cause your foot to be positioned at a different angle. This can make it more challenging to make contact with the appropriate pedal. Shoes with slippery bottoms, such as Crocs, or that have a very pointed toe can also make it difficult to brake suddenly.

You Can Be Held Liable for Barefoot Driving

Even though it is not against the law to drive barefoot, it may cause you to operate your vehicle in an unsafe manner. When that is the case, insurance companies and the courts may determine that driving while barefoot is negligent behavior and that you are then liable for paying full damages.

Every motorist in the state is required to drive safely so no one becomes hurt. Negligence refers to the failure to take this due care. An unintentional mistake may not be against the law, but it can mean you are liable for any accident that results from the error. For example, it is also not against the law to drink coffee while you are behind the wheel. However, if you spill hot coffee on yourself and crash into another vehicle as a result, you could be found at fault for the accident, even though you did not break the law.

The same legal concept applies if you were barefoot or wearing inappropriate footwear for driving. If the footwear, or lack thereof, causes your foot to slip off the pedal, or a flip flop becomes lodged under a pedal and an accident occurs as a result, you can be held liable for paying for the medical expenses, lost income, and other losses accident victims sustain.

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyer in NYC Today

If you have been in an accident while driving barefoot, it is critical that you seek legal advice from a New York car accident lawyer. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our seasoned attorneys will review the facts of your case, determine liability, and help you fight for the full damages you are entitled to. Call us now at 1-877-ASK4SAM or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.