Flip flops are a popular choice in South African footwear, especially when it is hot out. But according to Arrive Alive, drivers need to reconsider driving in these comfy shoes.

According to the agency, research shows that flip flops are the most dangerous type of shoe to drive in and reportedly carry a higher risk of danger than driving in high heels. Now, motorists are being advised to drive barefoot instead of with flip flops.

“South African law does not say anything about the footwear drivers should be wearing. It is not illegal to drive barefoot, with flip flops or high heels. But inappropriate footwear can be extremely dangerous. Many South African drivers have experienced the dangers of driving with flip-flops – and they aren’t just used for a drive to the beach,” Arrive Alive said.

“A survey by an insurance company in the United Kingdom revealed that flip-flops are the most dangerous type of shoe to drive in – even more dangerous than the more often discussed and criticised high-heel driving. If a suitable pair of shoes is not available, it will be safer to remove the flip flops and drive barefoot.”

If there is a choice between driving in high heels, flip flops or bare feet, by far the safest option is bare feet. “Some drivers find it easier to drive barefoot as it allows them to gain a better ‘feel’ for the car, in particular the clutch bite point. As a result, driving barefoot helps some from stalling the vehicle,” the agency added.

There are however risks associated with driving barefoot:

    1. The clutch may require heavy pressure to be applied.
    2. It is a relatively small pedal exerting a lot of pressure on the ball of the foot, whereas, the sole of a shoe distributes that pressure more evenly.
    3. Repeated use of the clutch could end up being painful, causing cramp or other spasms in the foot and reducing the ability of the driver towards effective control of the vehicle.
    4. Operating the pedals with bare wet feet may become slippery as the feet become damp with perspiration.
    5. Nylon socks or tights can reduce traction between your foot and the pedals and don’t allow the foot to grip pedals.
    6. Your foot could slip off the pedal easily because you don’t have the same grip as shoes give you.
    7. In the unfortunate event of an accident, appropriate driving shoes are likely to offer a reduction in foot injury.
    8. In cases of traffic crashes with nothing to protect the feet, you may tread on broken glass and debris and sustain major injuries.

Picture: Arrive Alive

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Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.