driver wearing flip flops

We have found a lot of motorists are asking the question, is it legal to drive in flip flops? If you have been asking yourself the same question, then you have come to the right place! Keep reading to find out the answer.

Is it legal to drive in flip flops? Here is everything you need to know

As a driver, you should be aware of the necessary road safety and vehicles rules you need to adhere too. However, we understand that with the vast number of laws that already exist, combined with the introduction of new regulations, it can be challenging to remember all of them. Of course, if you are a driver with years of experience, it is likely you are well informed of what you should and shouldn’t do when driving, but if you are a new driver or a learner, it is worth doing your research now to prevent complications in the future.

Even if you are an experienced driver and believe you know the law well, we recommend regularly checking The Highway Code to ensure you are familiar with any new rules. If you have recently passed your test or a still a learner, take a look at this article published by The Express, which tells you all about the new driving laws coming into effect in 2019. Alternatively, if you are yet to start driving, why not consider taking driving lessons in Eastbourne or driving lessons in Hayes. Our Grade A instructors are extremely knowledgeable of all driving laws, so if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask your instructor. So, without further ado, we will now clarify whether it is, in fact, illegal to wear flip flops when you drive.

Flip flops while driving – yes or no

Put simply, the answer to this all-important question is no. However, you should still be cautious of wearing flip flops while you drive as it could result in a fine of up to £5,000! With the temperatures rising as we approach the summer months, we know how tempting it is to bring out your summer wardrobe and be beach ready at all times. However, when driving, you may want to rethink your outfit choice. Under Rule 97 of the Highway Code, drivers are obliged to wear clothing and footwear that does not prevent you from using the controls in the correct manner. Although it doesn’t explicitly say flip flops are inappropriate for driving, they could easily slip off and become wedged under the pedals, potentially causing you to drive erratically and resulting in a collision.

If the police stop you for driving in a potentially dangerous manner or it is believed your footwear is the reason for an accident, you could face being fined for driving without due care and attention, otherwise known as careless driving. Typically, a careless driving charge consists of a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points on your licence. However, in more severe cases, there is a maximum fine of £5000, up to nine penalty points and even a court-imposed driving ban. With this in mind, it is worth avoiding wearing flip flops when you drive and opting for a more appropriate choice of footwear.

driving shoes

The best footwear for driving

What you wear on your feet while you drive is often overlooked, but for comfort and safety reasons, it’s important to choose appropriate footwear. Your footwear should not only be comfortable, especially for longer journeys, but as it determines your ability to judge braking and acceleration, it also needs to be practical. It is for this reason that high heels and platform shoes should be avoided at all costs. In order to achieve the correct pedal action, the driver’s heel needs to be resting on the floor, but these shoes elevate the heel, affecting the operation of the pedals. The dangers associated with thick soles and high heels when driving can seriously affect reaction times, and therefore risk the safety of all those travelling in the car. The RAC provides a set of guidelines for what footwear is suitable when driving, which we have listed below:

  • Have a sole no thicker than 10mm. The sole should also not be too thin or soft
  • Provide enough grip to stop your foot slipping off the pedals
  • Not be too heavy
  • Not limit ankle movement
  • Be narrow enough to avoid accidentally depressing two pedals at once

If you want to splash out and treat yourself to a practical yet comfortable pair of driving shoes, you should try Tod’s Gommino Moccasino Driving Shoes. Renowned for its handcraftsmanship and quality leathers, Tod’s have created the ultimate driving shoe with combined everyday wearability. However, if you want a more budget-friendly alternative, The AA recommend any basic flat shoe or trainer.

Unusual car laws around the world

At first, the idea of flip flops being illegal to drive in may seem bizarre; however, there are a number of strange driving laws from around the world that we thought you might want to know about.

In Spain, where you can also be fined for wearing flips flops while you drive, motorists are prohibited from wearing anything covering their ears. According to their General Traffic Law, drivers should always have both hands on the wheel, and their ears should be visible.

Motorists in Moscow are at risk of being fined if they are seen driving around in a car which is deemed to be “too dirty.” There is even a similar law in Britain which states drivers need to keep their number plate completely visible at all times and could, therefore, be fined if it is obscured by dirt, snow or ice.

In an attempt to restrict the heavy traffic build up in the Philippines capital, authorities imposed restrictions on which cars are allowed in some regions of the city. In fact, since August 2018, it’s been illegal for drivers to use the city’s main highway on their own without any passengers in the car.

The world-famous Autobahn in Germany has many strict rules drivers must comply with to avoid being penalised. In accordance with German driving laws, it is illegal to run out of fuel when driving on the Autobahn. As running out of fuel is seen as a preventable circumstance, motorists can be fined, or receive a driving ban in serious cases, if they have run out of fuel on the Autobahn.

driver changing shoes

Comfort and safety is key

So, although wearing flip flops while you drive is not illegal in the UK, we highly recommend shopping around and finding a more appropriate choice of footwear. Not only will this make you feel more comfortable when driving but it will also ensure you are travelling in a safe manner. If you think you know the UK driving laws quite well but are still yet to get yourself out on the road, why not contact our driving school in Oxford, where our dedicated team will be more than happy to help arrange driving lessons with some of the best instructors in the country.