Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

Contrary to many people’s perceptions or alleged knowledge, it is not illegal to drive a vehicle while barefoot in Massachusetts or in any other state. After a day at the beach or swimming, you might find it inconvenient or a nuisance to put your shoes back on but be aware that safety experts caution against driving any vehicle without appropriate footwear.

Bare feet obviously lack the traction that normal shoes provide. If your feet are wet or sandy, they can easily slip off the gas or brake pedal with tragic results. In some cases, drivers will slip off their shoes because they are wet, sandy, or muddy while driving and the footwear will become entangled or stuck under a brake pedal. It is also possible that you could stub your toe causing you to move your foot off the brake at an unfortunate moment.

Car Accidents and Bare Feet

Because of this risk, do not drive barefooted unless your shoes or boots or other footwear is not safe to wear while driving. If you do not want to wear your usual shoes while going to the beach or some other activity, just keep them in your car and wear them only for driving.

There are some circumstances where barefoot driving may be preferable or safer than the footwear you have on such as:

  • Slippers
  • Flip-flops
  • Shoes or boots with long laces that can get stuck on a pedal
  • Open-toed sandals
  • High heels—could get stuck in floor mat

Wearing such footwear can cause a delay in applying the brakes or even prevent you from applying the brakes at all. 

Possibility of Reckless Driving Charge

Although barefoot driving is not illegal, it can still be construed as reckless driving if your footwear or bare feet is determined to be a factor in a motor vehicle accident. For example, if you failed to stop in time or lost control of your vehicle, an investigating officer at an accident scene could conclude that your choice of footwear, if unusual, or your barefooted driving caused your failure to brake or to swerve off the roadway or lane of traffic into another vehicle or barrier.

Examples of footwear that law enforcement might consider as unsafe are:

  • Rollerblades
  • Flippers
  • Socks
  • Slippers
  • Flip-flops
  • Ice skates
  • Work boots
  • Horse-riding boots

If you were injured by a motorist who was barefoot or wearing some unusual footwear and liability is an issue, this fact could lead a traffic officer to conclude that the driver was careless, used poor judgement, or was otherwise negligent in causing the accident due to their wearing unsafe footwear or no shoes at all since all motorists have a legal duty to exercise reasonable or ordinary care while driving. This is also a fact that an experienced car accident attorney can certainly point out to a defendant’s insurance adjuster where liability is disputed. If the driver’s shoes were seen in the vicinity of the brake and gas pedals or underneath them, then a reasonable conclusion is that they became stuck and prevented the driver from braking in time or at all. We have had many cases with facts similar to this.  

Damages in Car Accident Injury Claims

All personal injury claims are different. Your damages depend on the facts of the case, the nature and extent of your injuries, if you sustained a permanent injury, and other factors that your car accident attorney can explain. Damages in most cases may include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future income loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost income capacity
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Spousal claim for loss of consortium

Only an experienced car accident attorney can present your damages in a logical and coherent manner so that you can recover the most compensation for your injuries.

Retain the Law Office of Burns and Jain 

A car accident attorney from Burns and Jain will zealously represent you and your claim before insurance adjusters and defense attorneys, if necessary. Call our office at (617) 227-7423 for a free and comprehensive evaluation of your injury claim. 

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