In South Africa, driving in heels is not against the law, but that doesn’t mean you should strap on your expensive high heels and get behind the wheel.
Why? Because your shoes affect your driving ability and your heels, no matter how glamorous, are possibly the worst choice for driving.
How do shoes affect your driving ability?
When you’re driving, your feet and ankles are hard at work using the pedals to accelerate, brake, and engage and release the clutch. Therefore, it’s important that your choice of footwear gives you freedom of movement of your feet and allows you to maintain better control of the car.
Why is driving in heels so dangerous?
Besides damaging your precious shoes, driving in heels could cause a crash because achieving the correct pedal position and action requires the heel of your foot to rest on the floor. If you’re driving in heels, then your heel is elevated, and you won’t be able to judge how much pressure to apply to the pedals. Not only that, but your heel could also get caught in the floor mat, or, even worse, become stuck under the pedal. Imagine needing to brake in an emergency and your heel is wedged under the brake pedal?
How do you choose the correct footwear for safe driving?
It all comes down to the soles of your shoes. Thick soles prevent your feet from feeling the pedals and judging the correct amount of pressure to apply. Wide soles are also to be avoided as you could possibly press two pedals at the same time. Choose shoes which have good grip on the soles, so that they won’t slip off the pedals. Be sure to check that the soles are not too thick or too wide.
Should you drive barefoot?
No. Just like driving in heels, there are associated risks with going it barefoot. While not technically illegal (in fact, South African law doesn’t have any restrictions on footwear for driving), you should still avoid barefoot driving. Your bare feet are more likely to cramp while driving, plus they could become slippery from perspiration.
Top Tip: Keep a pair of flats in your car for driving. That way, you can slip off your heels, slip on your flats, and arrive at your destination safely.
To stay safe and moving on the road, make the sensible choice – sensible footwear choice, that is. And be sure to subscribe to AA Alerts for all the road safety information you need, delivered straight to your inbox.