Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot in Kentucky and How Safe Is It…or Isn’t It?
I just got back from vacation, and I did what I always do. I wore my slip-ons so I could tuck them neatly under the front seat of the car while driving. Yes, when it comes to long distances, I love to drive barefoot.
I ENJOY BAREFOOT DRIVING
And, if you knew my dad, you might think I'd be a little shell-shocked about doing it. When I was in my late teens, I hopped out of the car in our driveway, and there Dad was waiting for Mom to come out the door. They were headed to dinner.
To say that he was not pleased with my lack of footwear after having driven would be an understatement. I got a "talkin'-to" that featured a LITANY of things that could have gone wrong...up to and including receiving a fatter fine if I'd been pulled over for something. It stuck with me for years--but obviously, not THAT many years.
And I would NEVER drive barefoot in one of these:
Barefoot with a CLUTCH? Forget it.
BUT WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY ABOUT BAREFOOT DRIVING?
I spoke to Kentucky State Trooper Corey King, and here's what he told me:
There actually isn't a state or federal law that mandates footwear; however, we highly suggest you do.
Okay, duly noted. And that DOES lead to my next inquiry...just how safe is it, or ISN'T it, I suppose.
You see, I just spent a week driving through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and western New York MOSTLY BAREFOOT. I love it. I love feeling the hum of the road, which I cannot do wearing shoes. Plus, I just like being barefoot on general principle.
NOW...WHAT DOES THE LAW RECOMMEND REGARDING BAREFOOT DRIVING?
Ahem...now let's return to Trooper King who shared more thoughts about the practice:
There are numerous reasons for wearing footwear while driving. Several come to mind, including if you need to quickly leave your vehicle (wreck or other emergency reasons), your feet are protected from broken glass, vehicle fluids, or debris. Wearing good socks and shoes is highly suggested during inclement weather, especially cold temperatures, in case of your vehicle stalling. And in case of a frontal collision, it's possible the shoe support may help lessen the impact.
Consider me humbled. (Although he had a good laugh when I told him what I did on vacation.)
But seriously, I don't want to make light of a situation that COULD lead to calamity. Plus, I'm 100% on board with footwear during bad weather.
FRIENDLY ADVICE ABOUT BAREFOOT DRIVING FROM AN INSURANCE SITE
I also consulted GetJerry.com and learned the following, among other things:
The official Kentucky driver’s manual warns motorists (specifically, motorcyclists) that they should wear a closed-toe shoe at all times. And if you’re in an accident and law enforcement notices your bare feet, there’s a slim chance they could say you demonstrated negligence in your choice of footwear (or lack thereof).
But, again, it isn't illegal. In fact, it isn't illegal in ANY of the 50 states. But GetJerry DOES frown on barefoot driving, even if they DO think it's safer than wearing flip-flops or high heels while behind the wheel.
So now we know. It is perfectly legal, but it may not be perfectly safe.
Besides, fall is right around the corner, and maybe I just need to get it out of my system right now.