Jill Kolodner | July 9, 2020 | Maryland Law
Many people prefer to drive barefoot. The first thing they do when they get into their car is to kick their shoes off.
However, what happens if they are pulled over by the police? Will they get a traffic ticket for driving without shoes in Maryland? What happens if they are involved in a traffic accident while driving barefoot?
Driving Barefoot in Maryland is Not Illegal
There is no law prohibiting barefoot driving in Maryland. If you prefer to drive without wearing shoes, you can do so in Maryland without fear of a traffic ticket. However, the fact that you can drive barefoot in Maryland does not mean that you should.
Many people believe that driving barefoot is safer than driving with shoes. However, many people argue that a barefoot driver is not safe.
The fact is that no state laws prohibit driving a car barefoot. It is legal to drive barefoot in all 50 states. However, note that some states do prohibit motorcyclists from riding barefoot. Others don’t prohibit barefoot driving but discourage the practice.
At the end of the day, however, your choice of shoes or the choice of no shoes can impact your driving skills.
Driving With No Shoes
The main concern about driving without shoes is the lack of traction. Your bare feet may not provide the traction and support you need while driving. There could be a higher risk that your foot slips off the pedal, causing you to lose control of the vehicle and wreck.
Driving in Flip Flops
For individuals worried about traction, but want to be as barefoot as possible in their choice of footwear, wearing flip flops are an option. However, flip flops can make driving dangerous.
Most flip flops do not provide very much support. Also, your feet can easily slip out of flip flops, increasing the risk of losing control of the vehicle. Trying to slip your feet back into the flip flops could result in a distracted driving accident.
Boots have support and traction, but some boots are very heavy and wide. If your boots become stuck or wedged between the pedals, you may not be able to stop before a collision.
It can be tempting to run out to the car in your slippers for a quick trip to take the kids to school or run through a drive-thru. However, slippers are designed to be worn at home. You have the same risk of your foot slipping out of the slipper as you do with a pair of flip flops.
High heels have very little surface. A tiny portion of your foot is on the pedal. Also, the pointy ends of high heels can become wedged or stuck in floor mats while driving.
What Shoes are Best for Driving?
An enclosed shoe that fits properly and has traction is the best shoe for driving. Recommended driving shoes have soles that are flexible enough to allow your foot to have sufficient traction on the brake pedal and gas pedal.
Because it is not always practical or desirable to wear “driving shoes” during every occasion, keeping a pair of shoes in your vehicle may be the best solution. You can change shoes when you get into the car and change back when you reach your destination.
Reckless and Negligent Driving Charges in Maryland
Even though it is not illegal to drive barefoot in Maryland, there are laws against reckless and negligent driving. If driving barefoot contributes to the cause of a car accident, you could be charged with reckless or negligent driving.
The code states that reckless driving occurs when the person operates a vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others or property or in a manner that indicates a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others.
Negligent driving charges may apply if the person operates a motor vehicle in a foolish or careless manner that endangers others or property.
If the police cite you for reckless or negligent driving, you could face a substantial fine. However, you could also face civil penalties if you caused the accident.
Can I Be Sued for Driving Barefoot in Maryland?
If driving barefoot contributed to the cause of an accident, anyone injured because of the accident could file a personal injury lawsuit against you. The person could seek compensation for accident injuries, including, but not limited to:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages and Benefits
- Ongoing Medical Care and Personal Care
- Decrease in Earning Capacity
- Future Loss of Income
- Physical Pain and Suffering
- Impairments and Disabilities
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
If you do not have sufficient car insurance coverage to pay for the injury claim, the person could seek a personal judgment against you. Keep in mind that the person must prove that your actions directly led to the cause of the crash.
When the other driver’s actions contributed to the cause of the crash, Maryland’s pure contributory negligence laws prevent that person from recovering any compensation for damages. Therefore, you may want to seek help from an attorney to determine the exact cause of the car accident before assuming responsibility for damages.