Fake or fact? Is it really allowed to drive barefoot or in flip-flops??

the rumor persists: driving a car barefoot or in flip-flops is forbidden. But is that really the law or can you drive home from the beach without extra shoes in your luggage?? We explain what the legal situation is.

No legal flip-flop or barefoot ban

More information about traffic law coverage

The most important fact first: the german road traffic regulations (stvo) does not prescribe suitable footwear for car drivers. High heels, slippers, rubber boots or even completely barefoot or only in socks – theoretically everything is permitted when driving a car. In a traffic control you do not have to fear a fine in this respect.

In 2006, the Bamberg Higher Regional Court (OLG) issued a landmark ruling on such a matter (AZ 2 ss owi 577/06). The court ruled that driving in socks is an increased traffic risk, but it is still permissible no fine justified, as long as there is no accident.

Nevertheless it can bring problems with itself and it can be expensive if you get behind the wheel in flip-flops or without any shoes at all, driven by your summer mood.

Insurance coverage may be partially voided after flip-flop accident

The mentioned court decision already indicated it: driving a car barefoot or with open shoes is only problem-free if nothing else happens during the process. However, if you are involved in a traffic accident, your car insurance may refuse to pay in full or in part. Vehicle liability does cover damages that you cause to third parties.

Whether damage to your own car is also covered by comprehensive insurance is always checked individually. If it turns out that unsuitable footwear played a role in the accident and you could have braked in time with sturdy shoes, for example, there is negligence. And this is excluded by many insurances.

Should third parties be injured in a flip-flop-related accident, in the worst case scenario, the person who caused the accident could even face criminal proceedings. But in any case a fine. Because the stvo says in § 1 paragraph two quite clearly that road users must behave so, "that no other person is harmed, endangered or hindered or inconvenienced more than is unavoidable in the circumstances"." and driving without suitable footwear can violate this general duty of care.

Good reasons against driving in flip-flops

Anyone who has ever driven a car without shoes or in flip-flops must admit: it doesn’t really feel safe most of the time. This usually also applies to high heels.

  • One has less feeling for the pedals and can slip off more easily.
  • Brake, clutch and accelerator cannot be depressed as hard as when wearing sturdy shoes.
  • If you drive with flip-flops or slippers, there is also a risk of getting caught in the floor mat or pedals.

So it’s better to drive in shoes that are firmly attached to your feet, even in high temperatures. It does not have to be thick leather shoes. A pair of light fabric sneakers will do just as well and can be stored in the trunk or under the passenger seat during the summer for emergencies.

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