Driving while wearing flip-flops


My 18-yr-old daughter wants to wear flip flops when she drives. (You know, those sandals which are held on the feet with just a thong and two straps over the toes.) Her father and I think that’s a dangerous situation. We want her to wear more secure footwear. She thinks we’re being unreasonable. Are we?


Of all the dangerous things you can do while driving, this one is pretty low on my list. At the risk of sounding sarcastic, I would let her wear what ever she wants on her feet as long as she stays off the phone and away from alcohol while driving. I have 2 sons, 18 & 23, so I’ve been through a few driving issues. The rules you set have to be reasonable and enforceable. If you tell her no flip-flops and she does it anyway, what will you do? If you do nothing, then this and any other rule she doesn’t agree with become meaningless. If you are certain that this is truly a hazardous behavior she needs to avoid, then make your rule and if she chooses to violate it you then have no choice but to back for rule up with an appropriate punishment. As her parents, she should respect your wishes, but keep your demands reasonable.


I don’t think it’s safe, but as far as I can tell, virtually all young women do it, so in this case, the common argument that “everybody else does it” has some truth to it… (I do know one woman who caused a minor accident because her flip-flops got tangled in the pedals though.)

Driving barefoot is worse, because it will inhibit the driver from slamming the brake pedal hard (and painfully) in an emergency.


I wear flip flops when driving, and so does my mom. I’m not sure how it’s dangerous?


I sometimes drive in flip-flops depending on the destination. I learned to drive in flip-flops. Nobody told me it was dangerous then and it’s never been a problem for me. But if I ever have an issue with it chances are I’ll avoid them.


I am 45 years old, and I only ever worn flip flops in the summer from approximately April to October. Once the snow flies, unfortunately, I have to wear “real” shoes.

I drive about 20,000 miles a year, carting kids back and forth to high school, errands, going to work, etc. I have never had an accident that was preventable by me (once a 70 year old woman ran a stop sign she did not see and broadsided me. I was 19. Another time a deer broadsided me. It ran up out of a ditch. I was 20.)

I love wearing flip flops. I even (gasp) wear them to mass! :smiley:

I now have 2 teens with a driver’s license, 16 and 17. They also both wear the chunkier male version of flip flops. These are designed like the little flip flops, but are chunkier with a thicker sole. That is the only shoe they wear in the summer and thus while driving. In fact, now that I think about it, I think my 16 year old just took his driver’s test wearing those shoes…


It isn’t dangerous in that it’ll cause an accident. However, I do remember in driving school they suggested always wearing shoes that would support your feet, especially with anti-lock breaks. The teacher suggested to the girls in the class that they keep driving shoes in the car, and to wait until after you get where you’re going to put the sandals or high-heels back on.


I don’t like driving with flip flops. My solution is to drive barefoot, which I really like. I doubt though if your daughter is comfortable driving with flip flops that it is anything dangerous. Driving with friends in the car is probably much more dangerous. At some point you have to let your daughter decide what she can manage. I would avoid controlling the smaller choices in her life.


Yes, you’re being unreasonable. Millions of people drive in flip flops every day, and I have never seen that listed as a cause for accidents.

This seems to be one of those wierd myths that gains currency inexplicably. Like the one about how pregnant mothers shouldn’t raise their arms over their heads, because if they do, the cord will strangle the baby.

Save your battles for what counts, like telling her in no uncertain terms not to text while driving!


I find that I drive the best while barefoot. We have a manual transmission, and I can “feel” the clutch a lot better than when I’m wearing my hiking boots. :smiley:


As a fellow 18-year-old, yes, I think you’re being unreasonable. If the worst thing your daughter wants to do is drive while wearing flip-flops, you’re VERY lucky. I am one of maybe 10% of my graduating class that has never drank before; most drink most weekends. There are other issues that are much, much more important, too-such as purity, etc. I think battles need to be fought wisely–I know the more rules I have, the less I want to follow them…that doesn’t mean I don’t follow them, it just means that it is harder to follow them.


If she’s driving YOUR car, you have the right to set rules about drivers of YOUR car. If she breaks them, she may no longer drive it.

If she’s driving her OWN car that’s in HER NAME, then there’s not much you can do besides advise, wring your hands, and pray.


I’ll start out by saying, yes, I do drive with Flip Flops… but I know I shouldn’t and should be diligent about removing them (just drive barefoot, it’s safer!)…

Yes, it’s unsafe. The front flap can easily get caught beneath the break or gas pedal making it impossible to pull free from before accidents can happen.
My cousin almost died in a car accident due to this very issue back during Christmas 2002. He was on a highway, during a rain storm, got his flip flop caught on the pedal and was unable to break - slammed into the center concrete divider, spun, and broke his thigh bone and was in the hospital for a long time. He did survive, but had a long and painful recovery.

Thanks for the reminder… I should be more diligent about remembering this.

Just take them off…


I totally agree…your car; your rules. If she thinks you’re being unreasonable, then she’s free to drive wearing any type of footwear she chooses in the car she buys and insures.

My father told me that as long as I lived under his roof, I would abide by his rules and it didn’t matter if I was 16 or 60. I believed him!


an 18 year old is an adult and is old enough to decide what kind of shoes to wear.


While I don’t think its dangerous, its just plain dumb. Flip-flops are flimsy and cheap. If she’s going somewhere worth driving to she should have more than 10 cents worth of covering on her feet.

The probability of her ending up in a embarrassing or dangerous situation increases dramatically. I work at a college and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had a kid come in begging for tape and staples so they can fix their flip-flop. Normal tile floors are slippery.

I wear sandals with buckles and velcro…or ones with elastic around the heel. I don’t like shoes, either.

Wearing flip-flops wouldn’t fly for me, but thats in general, not just for a car.





Thank you for these links. I hope all the flip-flop fans on this thread will read them.


I wear them all the time here in Florida. I am 40 though, and an experienced driver. :smiley: I don’t think it’s a bad thing, as long as they fit her feet well, and don’t slip off easily.


I drive with flip flops, too. Someone mentioned the shoes getting tangled up in the brakes. Some people still do not seem to gather how this can cause a problem. Let me give you an experienced example.

I had very loose flimsy flip flops on once as I was driving. As I had to brake for a red light, my foot went from the accelerator and as I slid to the brakes, the brake pedal slid comfortably between my sole and toes. Now I did not cause an accident, but my shock(split second brain reaction) of not feeling what I expected to feel whilst driving caused me to pump the brakes, because it felt awkward. No pain or panic, just slight irritation.

I never have this problem with more fitted secured flip flops, that is just like driving with flat strappies. A gym shoe with a hole or tare can also snag onto the corner of a brake, so you really just have to be cautious.

I know we all love wearing flip flops for the extreme comfort factor. Just a tip though, if they are so comfy that they are loose enough to fling off your foot, that might be little too comfy for driving. :stuck_out_tongue:

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