Is It Legal to Drive Barefoot in Texas?
Attorney Brian White | March 31, 2020 | Auto Accidents
You may have been told by family and friends that it is illegal to drive barefoot in Texas. Surprisingly, this is a myth and there are no state laws that forbid it. Even more shockingly, there are no laws in any state in the U.S. that makes it illegal to drive barefoot. There is also no federal law against it.
This means that you can feel free to drive without shoes if you prefer it. However, there are still some things to know about barefoot driving safety and possible repercussions if you do decide to kick off your shoes and drive barefoot.
Many people support driving barefoot. In fact, there is a whole online community that advocates for it. They also endorse all sorts of barefoot living that include advice on how to live completely shoe-free. They give tips on going day-to-day without wearing shoes and list all state laws (or lack thereof) on what you can and cannot do barefoot in your state.
For driving, the barefoot community claims that thousands of accidents are caused each year because the driver is wearing improper or ill-fitting shoes. They also claim that driving barefoot is safer than driving with shoes on because:
- Your shoes cannot fall off if you are not wearing any. If you are wearing shoes, they could be ill-fitting and fall off at an inopportune time. This could cause you to lose your grip on the wheel. It could also cause the shoe to get stuck and block the pedal.
- You can grip the pedals better. You do not have a sock that could slip or a large shoe that may have lost its tread. Instead, you can use both your foot and toes to grip and adjust to the driving conditions.
- You have a faster reaction time. Your foot is directly touching the pedals. This means that you will be able to react to situations more quickly than if you are wearing shoes. It may only be a fraction of a second faster, but in an accident situation, this may be all the time you need to stay safe.
- It is more comfortable. This may not be a safety issue per se, but if you are more comfortable driving then you are hopefully able to focus on road conditions more.
Critics of Driving Barefoot
Critics of driving barefoot also have a loud voice and large following. They state that just because it isn’t illegal, that does not mean that it is safe. Their main claim is that vehicle pedals are designed for shoes. The tread on the pedals is meant to react to the tread on shoes. If you are barefoot, you run the risk of having your foot slip off the pedal more easily.
There is also the claim that your feet are subject to the weather. If it is raining, your feet may be wet and this will increase the chances of your foot slipping. This is also true if it is icy or snowing out. In those instances, you may not be walking barefoot, but why go through the trouble of taking off your shoes in the car? If it is cold, you may leave your socks on to drive. This too could cause major slippage problems when driving.
Not all shoes are safe to drive with. You may want to consider having a pair of driving shoes in your car if you often wear flip-flops, high heels, or large and bulky work shoes. This will alleviate the desire to take off these shoes and drive barefoot. You also need to remember to put any shoes that you take off away from the driver’s side of the car. You do not want them to move around while driving where they could get stuck under the pedals.
Barefoot Driving in Texas
It is not illegal to drive barefoot in Texas. If you get pulled over for a traffic stop, the officer cannot issue you a ticket for driving without shoes. However, there are still ways where driving barefoot may get you into legal trouble. First, you could be charged with reckless driving if you are in a serious car accident. this is likely to happen if the officer determines that your barefoot driving was a major factor in what caused the accident.
Secondly, you could get in trouble in a civil lawsuit. A person could sue you after an accident by claiming that your driving barefoot was negligent behavior that caused their injuries. While this could be hard to prove, you could still have to pay lawyer fees to defend yourself in court.