Driving in flip flops, in heels, or even barefoot doesn’t seem like a good idea, and it really isn’t. However, many more people than you might expect get behind the wheel with the wrong footwear, especially as soon as the heat begins to tighten. Specifically, and according to a 2020 study by the Royal Automobile Club of Spain (RACE), half a million drivers drive barefoot on many occasions and some 800,000 say they usually get behind the wheel wearing flip-flops and sandals. But, regardless of whether it is done or not, most drivers ask themselves the same question: Is there a fine for driving with this type of footwear?

The quick answer is that the fact of driving with flip-flops is not an offense listed as such in the Highway Code. But be careful, even though there are no specific rules on footwear when driving, an agent may interpret that the use of inappropriate footwear may be an infringing behavior if it prevents the driver’s freedom of movement or proper control of the vehicle. These three articles of the regulation support what was said above:

Thus, if an agent understands that the use of flip-flops (or heels or other footwear that he deems inappropriate) is limiting the driver’s ability to move, endangering his safety or that of other road users, he may be sanctioned with a fine of 80 euros (40 if promptly paid). In any case, the infraction generally does not lead to the loss of points on the driving license.

However, driving with flip flops is a bad habit that should be avoided, even on short journeys, for safety reasons. And it is that this footwear can end up getting hooked on the pedals, causing loss of control of the vehicle. To drive in high temperatures, the use of light, thin shoes is recommended, but always closed and that provide good adhesion between the foot and the pedals. A good solution is to keep in the car some shoes with these characteristics to change them for flip flops (or heels) when you go driving.

The question of whether a driver can be fined for driving with shoes or barefoot joins other practices that are common on the road. Can you eat or drink at the wheel? And stick your elbow out the window? And make up? None of these activities are by themselves grounds for sanction, but at the same time any of them can be denounced if it has affected driving safety.

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