One cause of car accident that lawyers who deal with car accidents handle is pedal application errors or making some error with either the accelerator or brake when driving.
Although there are a number of ways such driver errors can occur, attorneys who focus on helping clients injured in car accidents have learned that wearing flip-flops and other shoes unsuitable for driving are prime contributors.
Unfortunately, people continue to do this as there is no rule against driving while wearing flip-flops.
Personal injury lawyers can only suggest that drivers use common sense when choosing appropriate driving footwear.
Flip-Flops Contribute to Many Pedal Error Accidents
According to NHTSA in their SaferCar.gov educational video, pedal application errors result in approximately 16,000 vehicle crashes every year.1
Among those errors, a large percentage of the cause is driving in flip-flops and other unsuitable driving shoes.
Despite this statistic, driving in flip-flops is not illegal in the U.S., although the NHTSA and state driver organizations do stress the importance of wearing suitable shoes while driving.
A survey done in the UK by a popular auto insurance company found that one in three drivers admitted to driving in flip-flops even when aware of the risk, which suggests that flip-flops could even be a contributor in as many as 1.4 million accidents or near-misses each year in the UK alone.2
Why Are Flip-Flops Such A Poor Driving Footwear Choice?
As comfortable as they may be to wear, lawyers and safety advocates stress the fact that flip-flops are not suitable shoes for driving and wearing them while driving significantly increases your chance of making a pedal application error like stepping on the gas instead of the brake or vice-versa.
These errors happen because loose-fitting shoes like flip-flops and sandals can get caught under either pedal and prevent you from reaching or correctly applying the right pedal.
Your foot could also slip off the pedal, as flip-flops have very little tread on the bottom for gripping.
Attorneys whose clients have been injured in car crashes even find that some drivers involved in such accidents have had their flip-flops completely come off while attempting to apply the brake or gas, creating just enough of a distraction to break their driving concentration.
Hidden Dangers When Driving with Flip-Flops
Flip-flops are fun, comfortable, and popular shoes to wear; however, car accident lawyers do warn against wearing them while driving.
While driving in flip-flops is not illegal in Texas, doing so can increase the chance of being involved in an auto accident caused by another driver and needing the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Because they are responsible for or contribute to thousands of accidents each year, flip-flops are unsuitable for driving as they can easily interfere with the correct application of the brake and gas pedals.
Both the video from SaferCar.gov1 and attorneys who represent clients injured in car crashes agree on this piece of advice: stay safe by driving only in flat, enclosed, snug-fitting shoes with soles that grip, then slip on those comfortable flip-flops when you get to your destination!
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, SaferCar.gov, SaferCarTV, Driven by Safety, Preventing Pedal Error, May 29, 2015
2InsuranceJournal.com, News: Sheilas’ Wheels & Safe Driving Heels, June 14, 2007