Did you know you can actually get fined for driving in flip flops? That’s right, although summer is well and truly here, and many opt for cooler footwear in these humid summer months, it might be best to leave those strappy feet-stranglers at the beach!
Although wearing this type of shoe is not technically illegal, The Highway Code states that you must have footwear and clothing which ‘does not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner’. This being said, flip flops by design, quite literally function to slide on and off with ease, meaning they could come off and become lodged under car pedals, restrict movement and to put it bluntly, could cause you or someone else on the road a pretty serious accident.
Rebecca Ashton, Head of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, reiterates, ‘Flip flops can easily slip off and get caught under the pedals, and if they’re wet, your foot might slip affecting your ability to brake. Driving in flip flops has the potential to create a dangerous driving environment and put you and other road users at risk.’ (IAM)
The RAC have made a few suggestions as to what types of shoe you should be wearing on your feet to drive. ‘’You don’t want a sole that’s too soft or thin, shoes that are too heavy should be avoided, as well as those that limit ankle movement.’’ They also recommend that your shoes have enough grip to make sure your feet don’t slip off the pedals, and they’re narrow enough not to accidentally press two pedals at once.’ (DVLA)
They also say that shoes with soles more than 10mm in thickness can make it more difficult to drive. A thicker sole makes it harder to feel the pedals and can be more difficult to establish how much pressure is needed to operate the pedals safely. For example, you might not put enough pressure to brake hard enough in an emergency stop, or you might not accelerate hard enough to pull out on a roundabout.
Let’s say you were involved in an accident. If you were to be caught driving in flip flops, you could be liable for a charge cited as ‘driving without due care and attention’. If this happens, you could face an on-the-spot fine of £100 and along with 3 penalties on your drivers licence. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the accident, Rebecca Ashton warns that higher penalties may be appropriate, resulting in fines up to about five grand!
It’s happened to all of us when you’ve just come off the beach, or needed to hop in the car unexpectedly and you’ve not put any prior consideration into your footwear. We’ve all been caught out. For these occasions, it might be worth keeping a spare pair of comfortable shoes or trainers in the car suitable for driving. That way you can always be sure that you have a safe solution and you won’t be tempted to drive in flip flops, or even barefoot.
Again, whilst it is not technically illegal to drive barefoot, it is strongly advised against. The Driving Standards Agency don’t advise that anyone drives barefoot because “you will not have the same braking force that you do whilst you’re wearing shoes. If you don’t have enough braking force this could result in a crash which could not only harm you but other drivers on the road.’’ (DVLA)
At Trott Rentals, the safety of our drivers is crucial to a happy and successful operation. We kindly ask that you take care when driving any vehicle, not just ours, and make sure you think twice before getting behind the wheel with flip flops or sandals on. Not only for the safety of our customers, but the safety of the general public and the wellbeing of our fleet of hire vehicles.
Have a great summer everyone, and if you require any rental van assistance or are interested in our fleet services including van servicing and MOT, get in touch today on 01603 426487.
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