When you’re on a long road trip, comfort is probably going to be somewhere near the forefront of your mind. Plus, if you’re off on holiday, you might want to get into the spirit of your trip early by dressing like you’re already on the beach. Shorts and t-shirts aren’t going to cause any problems for you when you’re at the wheel of your car, but what you wear on your feet certainly could. Sandals or flip flops are popular summer footwear, but is it safe to drive in them? And is it even legal to do so? Read on to find out.
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Is It Legal To Drive In Sandals Or Flip Flops?
In the eyes of the law, it’s not illegal to drive wearing sandals or flip flops but it could be argued that by doing so you are in violation of Rule 97 of the Highway Code. This ruling states that proper clothing (including footwear) must be worn to allow proper operation of the vehicle.
This is one of those rules that you’re not really going to get caught out for, unless you’re involved in an accident. As such, a lot of people probably do it, especially in the summer. Should you end up crashing your car, your choice of footwear could be classed as a factor and you might end up being charged with ‘driving without due care and attention’. This offence carries an immediate £100 fine & three penalty point punishment, but that could even rise to a whopping £5,000 and NINE points if it’s taken through court! You could even end up being banned from driving altogether!
What Shoes Are You Not Allowed To Drive In?
Once again, there’s no law that specifically states particular types of shoes you can’t drive in, but there are recommendations. It’s not advised to drive in anything that’s restrictive, like wellies, heavy boots or high heels. These don’t offer much movement and fine control on the pedals and, if they’re especially wide, you could even end up pressing the brake and accelerator at the same time.
On the other hand, flimsy shoes like sandals – or going totally barefoot – aren’t recommended because you lack the extra force that can be required for braking. Flip flops and other loose shoes could also become trapped or entangled around one of the pedals which will cause obvious problems when you attempt to adjust your feet.
Does Driving In Flip Flops Invalidate Insurance?
Driving with sandals or flip flops on your feet doesn’t immediately invalidate your insurance policy, but it does put it at risk. If you’re involved in an accident, your insurer could indeed refuse to fulfil their obligations to you if they feel that you’ve been negligent with your choice of footwear. Ultimately, it boils down to that Highway Code ruling number 97 again; if your flip flops were a factor in your driving without due care or attention, then they can absolutely invalidate your insurance and leave you with a huge bill to pay.
What Happens If I’m Driving In Flip Flops And I’m Involved In An Accident?
If you’re involved in an accident and you’re wearing flip flops, sandals, or any other inappropriate type of footwear, you’re more likely to be held accountable and given the blame. A proper investigation should still take place and, if for example you were rear-ended in standstill traffic, it’s unlikely that your flip flops will be deemed to have had any impact. But, should you be the ‘aggressor’ so to speak and drive into somebody else, those flimsy shoes won’t look good on the accident report.
In fact, even if you’re hit by somebody else while you’re moving, those flip flops or sandals could be brought into question. Could you have stopped or avoided the accident in time if you were wearing shoes that gave you better control over the vehicle? If the answers don’t work in your favour, you could be looking at an invalidated insurance policy, a fine, points of your licence or even a driving ban!
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