Most drivers are aware that there are lots of different things that have to be considered in order to stay safe on the road, but something that often gets forgotten is footwear.
Suitable driving shoes play a big part in driving safely, as your choice of footwear can affect your pressure on the pedals and your ability to judge braking and acceleration. According to the Telegraph, a poll by the AA in 2010 found “that 27 per cent of respondents had encountered difficulties while driving because of the shoes they were wearing, with 5 per cent claiming that their footwear had actually led to them driving dangerously, losing control or having an accident.”
So what should you avoid?
High heels and platforms
High heels are definitely a bad idea. Both pedals are used with the driver’s heel resting on the floor, in order to achieve the correct pedal action. Wearing high-heeled shoes creates a problem as the heel is elevated, affecting the operation of the pedals and impacting the driver’s ability to measure the pressure being applied.
High heels are one of the worst shoes to drive in. The Telegraph explains that there is only one thing worse than high heels – platform wedges. Platforms are a double whammy of high heels and thick soles – and the dangers associated with these factors can seriously affect reaction times.
Sandals and flip flops
According to the Daily Mail, studies have shown that flip flops are responsible for approximately 1.4 million near misses or accidents each year, and can slow braking times by 0.13 seconds. It is because of this that flip flops are one of the worst choices for driving, as they can come off too easily and get jammed under a pedal, or distract the driver if they’re trying to put one back on their foot
There are far too many things that can go wrong with flip flops which can detract your attention from the road, so they should be avoided at all costs.
One thing that drivers often do if they’re wearing unsuitable footwear is to take them off altogether, but this is not a good idea. Bare feet, tights or socks may not allow you to grip the pedal sufficiently due to the socks reducing traction on the pedal, or feet becoming slippery due to perspiration. It could also end up feeling uncomfortable when it came to exerting pressure – such as during an emergency stop.
Although some drivers say that driving barefoot allows them to get the best feel of the pedals it can increase the likelihood of injury in the event of a collision and negatively affect your driving, so it’s not a good solution to the age-old shoe debate.
The perfect driving shoes
The perfect driving shoes:
- Have a medium-thickness sole that is around 4mm thick. It shouldn’t be too soft or too flexible, and should have a suitable grip to avoid slipping on the pedal.
- Should be lightweight to allow for easy movement.
- Should allow for easy ankle movement in all pedal movements.
- Should not be too wide to avoid stepping on two pedals at the same time.
Soles and heels are key. Aside from the effect that inappropriate shoes could have on you and your passengers, the way they affect your driving is not good for the wear and tear on your car.
Driving can seriously take its toll on your feet and ankles, even when you’re not aware of it. Wearing the right shoes can help you to feel relaxed on the road, boost your reaction times, improve your control over the car and help you to drive smoothly and safely – all by choosing the right pair of shoes.