When you consider how much driving a car is a part of our lives, it’s easy to forget how dangerous it can be to drive a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds. Our actions behind the wheel, from clothing to point of view, have a significant impact on whether or not we will reach our destination safely. Experts warn that there is one particular piece of clothing that is particularly risky when you are behind the wheel. Read on to find out what you should never wear while driving a car.
RELATED: Never wear that one thing on an airplane, flight attendant warns.
Wearing the wrong shoes behind the wheel can be extremely dangerous. Faulty footwear can lead to a “pedal failure” in which your foot either slips off the brake or accelerator pedal, or you step on the wrong pedal all the way. Either slip can easily lead to a crash. Geico reports that a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that approximately 16,000 accidents are caused by pedal failure each year. “The wrong kind of shoes can be a hindrance or a danger when driving a car”, Ryan Pietzsch, National Security Council driver safety education expert, told Geico.
Laura Adams, Safety and Education Analyst at Driver’sEd.com, told Reader’s Digest that wearing the right shoes is “an often overlooked safety precaution that drivers can take to reduce the likelihood of a fatal car accident.”
RELATED: This is the Deadliest Freeway in Your State, Data Shows.
There seems to be an interplay between flip-flops and high heels in order to wear the most dangerous shoe while driving a car. “There is honestly a tie between flip-flops and high heels,” says the personal injury attorney John J. Reaganwho specializes in car accidents. “Flip-flops are loose and not attached to their feet. So if you wear them while driving, they can bend and get stuck under either the brake or the accelerator. On the other hand, an extremely high heel can injure a driver’s foot accidentally to put on the accelerator instead of the brake (and vice versa) because there is a lot of space between the foot and the intended pedal. “
Podiatrist and foot surgeon Bruce Pinker, DPM agrees that this shoe choice is the riskiest. “The high heels are dangerous as the extended heel height can prevent contact with the pedals, which could potentially lead to an accident. Flip-flops can easily fall off while driving, creating driving distractions and possible complications with loss of vehicle control, “he explains.
Pinker also advises against wearing platform boots or sports shoes such as golf shoes or cleats. “In general, any loose footwear that is loose on the foot can cause driving problems, as the loose shoes can hinder safe driving by impairing acceleration and braking,” he adds. According to Geico, drivers should also avoid wearing mules, slippers, wedges, work boots, cowboy boots or sitting barefoot behind the wheel.
Pietzsch admits that you won’t always leave the house with sensible shoes and suggests leaving another pair in the car to change into. If you often wear heels, flip flops, or other risky shoes, it is advisable to keep a safer pair somewhere in your vehicle. He told Geico that if you have a second pair of safer shoes in the car, all you have to do is change into these before driving and make sure you move the other pair away from the footwell so they are out of the way. Once you’ve reached your destination, it’s time to slip into your favorite shoes.
RELATED: To get more security advice straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Shoes are not the only item of clothing that can pose an unnecessary risk while driving. Pinker warns against wearing long dresses, skirts, scarves, or pants that can get caught on something like your shoes and distract you while driving. Karen Condor, Driving safety expert at autoinsurance.org, says you should also avoid tight clothing that could interfere with your ability to move, loose headgear that could slip over your eyes, and bulky layers that could distract you if you remove a layer while driving have to.
RELATED: If you see this while driving, never turn around, says CDC.