In summer, there is nothing more relaxing than having a pair of flip flops on your feet. They are among the most popular types of footwear at this time for one simple reason: having your feet trapped in a hot, sweaty pair of shoes is not a fun way to spend your day in summer. That being said, you may still have to get behind the wheels to get around, and we all know how unpredictable driving can be. Mistakes can either be made by you or another driver, and you may have to take sudden evasive maneuvers, for instance, when a car unexpectedly turns into your lane. In such a situation, little things such as the shoes you have on your feet can have a very great impact on the outcome.
Are flip flops dangerous to drive in? Well, flip flops are considered to be one of the most dangerous footwear to drive in. There are many frightening dangers associated with driving in flip flops. In a recent survey conducted by the insurance company Sheila’s Wheel’s, it was determined that about 1.4 million accidents and close calls are caused by flimsy footwear.
This is really concerning considering that it is estimated that a third of all motorists wear flip flops while driving. This information is concluded from the responses of 1055 motorists from Great Britain who were asked in the survey. Around 60 percent of the motorists interviewed admitted to driving while wearing footwear unsuitable for driving, including flip flops. 20 percent of those admitted that they continued to drive in unsuitable footwear even after nearly being involved in an accident. 27 percent of those interviewed admitted that the footwear they had on had caused a driving mishap while 7 percent blamed flip flops for almost being involved in an accident or an actual accident.
It was also determined that only 36 percent of women have a pair of driving shoes to change into in the car. On the other hand, only twelve percent of men carry driving shoes. These statistics are scary considering the number of people walking around in flip flops especially in summer.
Apart from flip flops, there are several other footwear that need to be avoided when driving. Of these, flip flops are the most dangerous. Here is what you need to avoid:
- Stiletto heels
- Sandals that have a lot of straps
- Wedge heels
- Tennis and running shoes that have thick soles
- Wedge heels
- Footwear that does not have any grip such as bowling shoes
- Knee-high boots
- Bare feet
Shoes such as heels are dangerous since they can get caught in or under mats while driving. This can hinder you from braking or accelerating when necessary. Driving in shoes that are thick or have heavy soles is also risky since they make it difficult for you to feel the pedals. They also get stuck often between the pedals, which is very risky. Stepping on pedals with bare feet is exhausting and your feet may get cramped which is a dangerous thing especially when driving. Also, your legs get sweaty and slippery. Because of this, your foot may slide off the pedal causing abrasion and injury to your foot.
Reasons why Flip Flops are dangerous to drive in
The following are some of the reasons why flip flops are considered to be one of the most dangerous types of footwear to have on when driving.
1. It takes longer to slow your car down in flip flops
The time it takes to slow down your car when wearing flip flops is longer than when braking your car with normal shoes on. Braking with flip flops requires more energy than braking with regular shoes. Since you have to slow down many times while driving, it is more exhausting to drive while wearing flip flops than when wearing normal shoes. Exhaustion puts you more at risk of being involved in an accident since you will be unable to make quick maneuvers to avoid a potential accident.
Driving with flip flops on results in you having slower reaction when braking than when braking with regular shoes. On average, braking with flip flops is 1.3 seconds slower than braking with regular shoes. This may seem like a small amount of time but when you convert this time to distance with respect to speed, it is equivalent to 3.5 meters assuming you are driving at an average speed of 60mph. The 3.5 meters might just be the distance that may help you avoid an accident.
2. Flip flops are harder to maneuver
It is harder to maneuver your feet between pedals when wearing flip flops. The hindrance can be costly since as a driver, you need to be able to switch your foot quickly between the pedals when necessary. In a situation that an oncoming vehicle suddenly switches to your lane, you need to be able to switch your foot to the brake pedal without any difficulty. This might not be possible when wearing flip flops. In such a situation, flip flops put you at more risk of being involved in an accident.
3. No protection in case of an accident
Flip flops are open footwear that leaves the feet exposed. If you are involved in an accident, your feet are at a higher risk of being badly injured compared to when wearing enclosed footwear.
4. Less force is applied to the brake pedal when wearing flip flops
The force applied on the pedal by a foot in flip flops is approximately 10.05 sq. m per second. The force exerted by shoes like wedges, on the other hand, is approximately 20.05 sq. m per second. This means that your braking will be less efficient in flip flops than in regular shoes
5. Flip flops may get stuck on the pedals
Driving in flip flops also puts you at risk of getting your feet stuck on the pedals. This will distract you since you will try to detach your foot from the pedals, taking your attention away from the road. It is estimated that over 1000 people are injured every day from distracted driving. Being distracted while driving is dangerous since the few seconds that you are distracted might be the thin line between a safe drive and a fatal accident.
Getting your foot stuck on a pedal may also result in you accelerating or braking involuntarily. Braking involuntarily may put you at risk of being rammed into from behind. Accelerating involuntarily can lead you to be responsible for a rear-end collision.
6. Flip flops have less grip
Flip flops have less grip on the brake pedals than regular shoes. Your feet are therefore more likely to slide off a pedal when you are in flip flops than when you are in regular shoes. Since your feet are also exposed in flip flops, the brakes may scratch your feet injuring you.
7. Flip Flops come off too easily
Flip flops are loose and come off too easily when driving. By trying to put them on while driving, your attention is taken off the road putting you at risk of being involved in an accident.
8. Flip flops have flexible soles
It is advised that driving should be done with footwear that has firm soles. Flip flops, on the other hand, have flexible soles. Flexible soles make the feet susceptible to foot cramps, making the foot tire quickly. This puts you at more risk of being involved in an accident.
Legal issues associated with driving in flip flops
Unfortunately, there are no laws that prohibit people from driving with flip flops or any other flimsy footwear. However, if you have an accident when wearing flip flops, you might be charged. There is a highway code which states that you should ensure that the clothing and footwear you have on when driving should not prevent you from correctly using the controls. If the accident is determined to have been caused by your footwear, then you may be charged.
This means that you may be liable for the damages in case you are involved in an accident. You may end up paying more money for the resulting damages and other injuries since your motor insurance can be invalidated if it is determined that you were driving with flip flops.
It is therefore important that you have appropriate shoes when driving. The properties of appropriate shoes include:
- A sole which does not exceed 10mm
- The sole should not be too soft or thin
- The shoes should not be too heavy
- The shoe should have a grip of the pedals to avoid slipping
- The shoes should allow for ankle movement
- The shoes should not be too wide to avoid the risk of pressing two pedals simultaneously
It may be okay to drive without flip flops but it is not advised. You should always have a pair of driving shoes in your car to change into. This will greatly minimize the risks of being involved in a road accident because of the footwear you have on.