There is a common misconception that it is illegal to drive barefoot in Texas or other states. This may be due to the fact that some people believe that barefoot driving is inherently unsafe and that it should be prohibited by law. Our Fort Worth car accident lawyer takes a look at how footwear affects driving.
TL;DR: It is not illegal to drive barefoot in Texas.
Despite this common misbelief, there is no state law in Texas that specifically prohibits or allows barefoot driving. In fact, none of the 50 states outlaw driving barefoot. While some cities or counties in Texas may have local ordinances that address barefoot driving, it is not a violation of state law.
Tracing the Origins of “Is it Illegal to Drive Barefoot in Texas?”
The myth is so popular the Texas Monthly covered this and traced it back to the Great Depression, when people associated driving without shoes as something individuals who lived in poverty would do. Today it is more likely that someone would slip off their heels or work boots before getting in the driver’s seat.
Footwear that may be dangerous while driving
In fact, there are certain types of footwear that may be dangerous to wear while driving. Here are a few examples:
- High heels: High heels can impair your ability to operate the pedals effectively and may increase the risk of foot or ankle injuries in the event of an accident.
- Sandals: Sandals or flip-flops can slip off the pedals easily and may not provide enough support or traction while driving.
- Slippers: Slippers may not provide enough grip or support to allow you to control the pedals effectively.
- Loose-fitting shoes: Shoes that are too loose or too big can also interfere with your ability to operate the pedals properly. Shoes that are too tight or too small can be problematic, as they may cause discomfort or inhibit your ability to move your feet freely.
Closed-toe shoes with a sturdy sole that provides good grip and support while driving is often the safest choice. Car and Driver did an entire article on what to look for in a good driving shoe.
Dangers of Driving Barefoot
While it may be tempting to drive without shoes, there are also several potential dangers of driving barefoot, including the following:
- Reduced control of the vehicle: Wearing shoes while driving can help you maintain a better grip on the pedals and have more control over the vehicle. Without shoes, your feet may slide off the pedals or have difficulty reaching them, which can make it difficult to brake or accelerate effectively.
- Increased risk of injury: If you are involved in an accident while driving barefoot, you are more likely to suffer foot or ankle injuries due to the lack of protection provided by shoes.
- Decreased reaction time: Wearing shoes can help you react more quickly to changes in driving conditions, such as sudden stops or turns. Without shoes, your reaction time may be slower.
Some cities and counties in Texas may have local ordinances that prohibit or restrict barefoot driving. Additionally, driving barefoot may not be considered safe by some individuals, as it can impair a driver’s ability to operate the vehicle properly. It is generally recommended that drivers wear shoes while driving to ensure the best possible control of the vehicle.