Most drivers probably know deep down that there are certain types of shoes that they should not wear when behind the wheel of a car but that knowledge doesn’t seem to be stopping many drivers from sporting dangerous attire. The wrong footwear can be extremely dangerous and if you don’t know what shoes you should use for driving or why some styles are hazardous then here are the facts.
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Platforms and Heels
The best footwear for driving is flat, comfortable styles that have a thin sole. Platforms put a lot of space between our foot and the pedal making it more likely that you will hit the wrong pedal by mistake. High heels lead to a tendency for contact with the pedals to be made only with the toe which could leave a driver unable to apply enough force if they need to brake hard. Thin heels like stilettos can get caught up in the carpet and mats impeding the driver.
Flip Flops, Golf Shoes and Work Boots
Flip flops are another bad choice as they can fall off or be knocked off your feet obstructing the pedals and their loose fit may not provide sufficient feel. Feel is crucial to driving safely as a driver must be able to sense how firmly they are pushing the pedals and the vibrations which indicate the severity of breaking. Golf shoes and work boots could also be problematic in this regard.
Despite the attendant hazards it would appear that many drivers are either ignorant of the facts of simply ignoring them and young drivers are the worst offenders. A recent survey commissioned by comparison website confused.com found that 40% of women drive in high heels, 39% in flip flops and 24% confess to driving with bare feet. The latter practice is dangerous as grip is required to prevent the feet from slipping on the pedals. The men were a little more sensible with 27% admitting they wear flip flops and 22% driving with no shoes at all.
These findings were reinforced when the results of a study by Shell’s smarter drive initiative were published. One in three young drivers confessed to using inappropriate footwear and one in six older drivers are guilty. Interestingly young drivers rated themselves as the most competent on the road but they are clearly wrong! Incorrect footwear can cause accidents and endanger lives yet it is a subject which generally receives little publicity.
The Right Shoes
The best footwear for driving is a comfortable shoe with no platform or heel, which is securely fastened and which has an appropriate amount of grip. Uncomfortable shoes are likely to be removed to alleviate the discomfort and could provide an unnecessary distraction. They can also cause the driver to fidget and to adopt poor positions with their feet in an attempt to reduce the pain. Busy lives require a variety of shoes but the best course of action is to keep a suitable pair of shoes in the car at all times which can be used specifically for driving.
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and regular driver who keeps a spare pair of shoes in the car for those stiletto moments.