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Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

“No shirt, no shoes, no service.” We’ve all seen the sign. But what about driving without shoes?

Is it illegal to drive barefoot? Can you really be thrown in the slammer just because you left your shoes at home? Or get a ticket?

We’re going to answer all your burning barefoot-driving questions.

Let’s jump in!

Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

No, it is not illegal to drive barefoot in the United States, and not a single one of the 50 states has a law against it. (After all, it’s still a free country, right?) There are a lot of weird laws in America, but this isn’t one of them. The idea that it’s illegal to drive barefoot is an urban legend. So if you just love the feeling of your bare feet on that gas pedal, you’re in the clear.

Some states (like Alabama) do require you to wear shoes while driving a motorcycle though.1

We should also tell you . . . if you’re in an accident while airing out your toes, you might get a reckless driving charge depending on your local police department’s practices.

Is It Safe to Drive Barefoot?

Alright, we’ve answered, Is it illegal to drive barefoot? Now let’s see if it’s a good idea. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s smart.

Driving barefoot might not be a big deal in some cases, but if you have wet or sandy feet, there’s a higher chance your feet will slip on the pedal. If you need to quickly hit the brakes, wet feet might not get the job done. Plus, the last thing you need after an accident is for the police officer to look down and wonder, Where are your shoes?

That said, some studies show bare feet might not be the worst way to drive. For example, in the UK, flip-flops were tied to 1.4 million car accidents per year.2 Yikes! Who knew flip-flops could be so dangerous? High heels and shoes with laces untied are also a bad idea.

Bottom line? We’re not going to tell you what to do here (we’re not your mom). We’re just going to say, Be careful. Use common sense, people.

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Where Did This Myth Start?

Like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster, it’s hard to know where some of these myths get started. And again, there are a lot of strange laws out there (like how it’s illegal to play bingo for over five hours in North Carolina).3

Many people probably just assume it’s common sense that driving barefoot is more dangerous, so it must be against the law. And some police departments do heavily discourage it. But it’s not illegal.

One man even took it upon himself in the 1990s to answer this question once and for all—Jason Heimbaugh (the hero we didn’t know we needed).4 Mr. Heimbaugh wrote to the motor vehicle departments in all 50 states to ask one simple question: Is it illegal to drive barefoot? It took a while, but he eventually confirmed it’s not illegal.

Check Your Rates

If you’re googling the laws about driving barefoot, there’s a good chance you’re pretty careful about how much risk you take on.

Did you know that many drivers are underinsured? State minimums aren’t nearly enough to actually cover you. Which—last time we checked—was kind of the point of insurance coverage.

Here’s the good news. We have insurance agents all around the country who can help get you the best bang for your auto insurance buck. They’re part of our Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program and can check your coverage to make sure you’re not overpaying for things you don’t need.

Our agents are also RamseyTrusted, which means they’ve been vetted by the Ramsey team and have the heart of a teacher.

Connect with an ELP today!

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Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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