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Wearing Flip-Flops While Driving in Virginia

What happens if you are wearing flip-flops while driving in Virginia? Are you liable in an auto accident if you are wearing flip-flops? Is it safe to wear flip-flops when driving an automobile or other motor vehicle? These are common questions as summer approaches. Some U.S. states permit driving while Wearing Flip-Flops While Driving in Virginia -- Altizer Law, PCbarefoot and when wearing flip-flops. A number of other states have enacted laws that forbid both when driving. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is legal to drive when barefoot and when wearing flip-flops. In fact, there are no restrictions in Virginia on the type of footwear allowable when driving a car or other vehicle.

There is an old adage that says, “The fact that you can do something does not mean that you should do it.” The Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has published guidance for drivers on the best footwear for driving. They recommend against driving barefoot or when wearing flip-flops. In fact, advises the DMV, your footwear could make the difference between safety and a serious accident with injuries.

Nearly 1.4 million car crashes occurred when a driver was wearing sandals that became caught under accelerator or brake pedals or under a floor mat. These footwear choices made it impossible for the drivers to respond to road conditions and the actions of other drivers. Consider the statistics about accidents involving a driver wearing flip-flops:

  • Approximately one-third of all drivers admit to driving while wearing flip-flops.
  • Roughly 10% of these drivers admit that their flip-flops have become stuck under a clutch, gas, or brake pedal at least once.
  • The reaction time of a driver wearing safe footwear under normal conditions is within 0.02 seconds. The reaction of a person wearing flip-flops is nearly twice as long.

Flip-flops are not the only potentially dangerous footwear for drivers. The DMV considers the following capable of creating very dangerous driving conditions. These include shoes:

  • With thin soles
  • With thick soles
  • With minimal surface area
  • That limit ankle movement
  • With weak builds
  • With no grip on the soles or slippery soles.

Specific footwear styles that are dangerous for drivers include:

  • Sandals with several straps.
  • Platform shoes.
  • Stiletto heels.
  • Knee-high boots.
  • Ankle-high boots.
  • Running shoes that have thick soles.
  • Tennis shoes made with thick soles.
  • Shoes with non-gripping material used for soles (example: bowling shoes).

The DMV and other agencies suggest that the best shoes to wear when driving are flat shoes or sneakers. Many suggest that you keep a spare pair of safe driving shoes in your vehicle so that you can then quickly change into safer shoes quickly.

The arrival of warmer weather and the season of treks to the beach may encourage us to wear sandals and flip-flops. But we would be wise to change to safe driving shoes before we start driving. Wearing flip-flops while driving in Virginia may be legal, but the safety of flip flops is questionable.

If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident or other vehicle crash due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another driver, and through no fault of your own, call Altizer Law, P.C., in Roanoke, VA. We help people injured in crashes every day. We fight aggressively and tirelessly until the driver responsible for the crash is held accountable and you receive an appropriate award or settlement. Bettina Altizer has more than 30 years of experience with accident cases. She knows it’s about the money.