There are no California traffic laws that prohibit you from driving barefoot in Los Angeles. You can slip your shoes off and drive without fear of getting a traffic ticket. However, does that make driving barefoot safe?

Taking Your Shoes Off While Driving in Los Angeles

Even though it may be legal to take your shoes off to drive, that does not mean that it is always safe. Most shoes have more traction than your bare feet. Therefore, driving barefoot could increase the risk of your foot slipping off the gas pedal or brake pedal while driving.

If your foot slips off the brake, it could result in a rear-end car accident. Likewise, your foot slipping off the gas could cause someone behind you to hit your vehicle because your vehicle suddenly slows down.

Another problem can occur if you slip your shoes off and leave them on the floor at your feet. Shoes can roll around as the car is moving. Trying to get your shoes out of the way if they slide around while your vehicle is moving could cause a distracted driving accident.

Specific Types of Shoes Could Be Just as Dangerous as Driving Barefoot

Your choice of shoes for driving could increase your risk of a traffic accident. For example, driving in flip-flops or slides poses a risk of your foot sliding out of the shoe. If your foot slides out of the shoe, the result could be a traffic accident.

Extra side shoes, like boots, can make driving dangerous. An extra-wide shoe or boot could become wedged between the brake pedal and the gas pedal. An accident could result while you are trying to get the shoe free or because the shoe presses down on the pedal.

Spike heels can also pose a danger while driving. The heels can become stuck in the carpet or the floor mat, thereby making it impossible to use your foot to control the gas and brakes.

Safety Tips for Driving With or Without Shoes

Some safety tips to keep in mind as you are driving include:

  • Never drive when your feet are wet. Dry your feet or your shoes before driving
  • Keep a pair of driving shoes in the car. Change your shoes before driving
  • If you remove your shoes, put the shoes on the passenger side or in the back seat to keep the shoes from moving around under your feet while you are driving

Your choice of footwear for driving is not dictated by law. However, if your choice of footwear contributes to the cause of a car accident, you could be personally liable for damages caused by the car accident.

Car crashes result in severe injuries such as:

The injuries from a car accident can result in significant financial losses, in addition to the pain and suffering caused by the injuries. A victim could be out of work for months. Some victims may not be able to return to work or may be unable to return to their previous careers.

Car Accidents Caused by Driving Barefoot

It can be difficult to prove that driving barefoot or your choice of shoes led to the cause of a traffic accident. In most cases, your footwear is a secondary factor in the cause of the accident.

For example, if you choose to drive barefoot and your foot slips off the pedal, you can be liable for damages if your vehicle collides with another vehicle that is stopped at a red light. Likewise, if your shoes are rolling around under your feet and you are looking down to move the shoes, you are liable if you rear-end a vehicle because you were distracted.

The key is whether or not you caused the crash. If you caused the car crash, you can be responsible for injuries and damages caused by the accident.

Damages in a car crash can include:

  • Cost of medical care and treatment, including personal care and in-home health care
  • Loss of income, including benefits, commissions, overtime pay, and other compensation
  • Pain and suffering, including physical pain, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and PTSD
  • Loss of enjoyment of life or quality of life
  • Disabilities and permanent impairments
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses and financial losses

Your car insurance policy should cover a car accident that you cause. California requires all drivers to carry minimum liability insurance.

However, if the value of the accident claim exceeds your insurance coverage, the accident victim could obtain a personal judgment against you for any amount not covered by insurance.