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Is It Legal To Drive Barefoot In Australia?

Lifehacker Australia logo Lifehacker Australia 10/07/2018 Spandas Lui
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When you're wearing impractical shoes to go out or when you want to duck out to the local shops quickly, it's tempting to drive without shoes on. Wearing thong or high heels while driving can be dangerous so the next best option is to just take them off and drive sans shoes. But is it legal to drive without shoes in Australia? Let's find out. 

While there is no particular law that prohibits driving without shoes explicitly, whether you have the appropriate footwear on will matter if you get into an accident.

According to LawPath, a provider of legal services for small to medium businesses:

"All ten Australian states and territories agree with no exact statement outlawing the use of inappropriate footwear while driving. Under Australian Road Rules 2008, rule 297, the driver must still take all precautions to drive in the safest manner possible. If in the unfortunate event that an accident does occur further investigations will be taken to inquire whether or not the driver’s footwear (or lack of) played a role in the cause of the accident.

"Those who are found guilty can be sentenced to pay a substantial fine along with the possibility of further punishment – depending on the severity of the damage. "

To avoid this situation in the first place, it's best to stick with footwear that you're comfortable in and that won't inhibit your ability to drive. The legalities aside, driving without shoes on can be a safety hazard.

While some drivers may find it easier to go barefoot, according to cars website Wheels24, doing so can pose the following risks:

  • The clutch may require heavy pressure to be applied especially if it’s an older car.
  • Cars that have smaller pedals require drivers to exert a lot of pressure on the ball of their foot. The sole of a shoe distributes pressure evenly.
  • Repeated use of the clutch could end up being painful, causing cramp or other spasms in the foot and reducing the ability of the driver to effectively appropriate a vehicle.
  • Operating pedals with wet feet is dangerous as pedals can become slippery.
  • Nylon socks or tights can reduce traction between your foot and the pedals.
  • Your foot could slip off the pedal due to insufficient grip.
  • In the unfortunate event of a crash, appropriate driving shoes are likely to offer a reduction in foot injury. In cases of traffic crashes you may tread on broken glass and debris and sustain major injuries.

A good idea is to keep a pair of appropriate shoes in the car that you can easy slip on before you head off.

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