Footloose: 14 safe footwear tips

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 A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Appropriate footwear can mean the difference between life and death this holiday season. Image: ARRIVE ALIVE ~ Supplied
Crash avoidance and bringing the vehicle to a sudden stop requires not only effective brakes, but also the ability to react swiftly and apply adequate pressure to the brake pedal.

Despite this awareness few drivers pay enough attention to the footwear that would best enable them to control their vehicles safely! In a recent survey many female drivers confessed that their choice of what to wear is based on what goes best with their outfit rather than what is the safest footwear to drive.


According to Arrive Alive, there isn’t any specific legislation with regards to driving footwear in SA though drivers are required to ensure that "clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner".

It’s not illegal to drive barefoot, with flip flops or in high-heels though all of these choices can be dangerous.
Your footwear should ensure that you’re able to adequately judge the pressure to apply the brakes. It should never obstruct your ability to operate pedals. Incorrect footwear could prevent you from braking in time or depressing two pedals at once. Driving long distances can be very demanding on our feet and ankles and wearing the right shoes will take the strain off your feet.

Top 14 tips on safe driving footwear

1 Your footwear should be comfortable for long distances.
2 The soles of your shoes should not be too thick or thin.
3 Your shoes should have adequate grip to avoid slipping off the pedals.
4 Wear lightweight shoes that do not restrict movement.
5 Ensure that the sole is not so wide that it might cause you to step on two pedals at the same time. The sole of your shoe should be no thicker than 2.5cm, but something along the lines of 4mm is even better.
6 Trainers or flat walking shoes are best for driving.
7 In the event of vehicle breakdown or a flat tyre you might be better off with comfortable shoes than being barefoot or in high heels next to the road.
11 Keep a pair of driving shoes in your vehicle instead of driving barefoot or in heels.
12 If you’ve switched shoes, don't leave the spare pair in the footwell while driving, as they could obstruct the brake or clutch.
13 Be extra careful in wet weather. Slippery soles make it easier for your foot to slip off the pedals.
14 Keep a small towel in the vehicle to dry the soles of your shoes if you have to walk through water to get to the vehicle.

Check out the dangers of various types of footwear:
Driving in flip flops
Driving in high heels and platform shoes
Driving barefoot

For more information, visit Arrive Alive.