Truck and cover

For I don’t know how many years, people have been circulating the story that there are some places hither and yon where it’s illegal to drive barefoot, you doofus, at least go put on a pair of flip-flops. Actually naming these places, for some reason, never happens:

There are no federal or state laws that prohibit driving a car without shoes. But state laws may be different for other types of motor vehicles like motorcycles. And local jurisdictions may also put their foot down when it comes to driving barefoot.

While driving a car barefoot may technically be legal, law enforcement officers generally don’t recommend it because of safety concerns. For example:

  • Driving barefoot could make it more difficult to drive. “We don’t recommend it because your feet can slip off the gas pedal,” a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles told the Naples Daily News.
  • Barefoot drivers’ discarded footwear could also possibly get stuck under a car’s pedals, impairing the ability to brake or accelerate.

The issues get a little more complicated if you’re barefoot up to your chin:

We were surprised to find little consensus on whether it is actually illegal to drive naked. There don’t seem to be many laws on the books that specifically address nudity in cars vs. nudity in general. One rule of thumb: It’s probably OK to drive naked, but only if no one else sees you.

That’s because indecent exposure means “to purposefully display one’s genitals in public, causing others to be alarmed or offended,” according to FindLaw. It’s not always necessary to prove the intent to offend others, either. If you do so recklessly, that counts.

The Oklahoma law reads similarly, although an exception is carved out for the person taking a leak off the back porch.

One thing I have learned is that people don’t forget this stunt once it’s been pulled, even four decades after the fact.


  1. fillyjonk »

    5 September 2017 · 2:09 pm

    I’m thinking flipflops would be as bad – if not worse- than going barefoot, because of the “flop” aspect of them.

    Am also contemplating the full horror of exposed genitals that might “alarm” another person….

  2. CGHill »

    5 September 2017 · 2:38 pm

    Flip-flops have never worked well for me in any context.

  3. fillyjonk »

    5 September 2017 · 3:04 pm

    Flipflops are just bad footwear.

    I have had to ban students from field labs because they showed up wearing them (FIRE ANTS! Hello?). I have seen people fall on stairs in them. They are way too flat for most people’s feet and over time can cause foot issues….and the cheap ones get really gross and gnarly after a few weeks’ wear, and no one wants to look at grungy flipflops.

  4. McG »

    5 September 2017 · 3:35 pm

    ISTR having spent entire childhood summers wearing flip-flops (we called ’em thongs, but that noun has been repurposed since then) when I had the option, but these days my lazy footwear of choice are moccasins.

    Less noisy, so if I ever need to sneak through an Indian camp in the middle of the night to rescue an abducted schoolmarm, I’m set.

  5. CGHill »

    5 September 2017 · 7:27 pm

    In my current semi-ambulatory state, I need far more support than those recycled go-kart tires can provide.

  6. Holly H »

    6 September 2017 · 9:47 am

    Compared to many of today’s high-heels, bare feet would make a much safer driving choice.

  7. fillyjonk »

    6 September 2017 · 10:30 am

    I know women who keep a pair of moccasins or similar-type shoes in their car, and trade out from their Death Heels when they have to drive.

    I can’t wear heels (foot and knee problems) so I don’t have to worry about that.

  8. Holly H »

    6 September 2017 · 11:38 am

    ‘Death Heels’– good name for them.

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