Blog Is Driving Barefoot Illegal in Ontario?

Aug 21, 2023

Learn about the surprising laws around driving barefoot


When it comes to driving, safety, and adherence to the law are paramount concerns. One question that often arises is whether driving barefoot in Ontario is legal and safe.

With various opinions and misconceptions surrounding this topic, let's investigate the matter and shed light on whether slipping off those shoes is a practical choice or a potential hazard that could lead to fines and increased car insurance premiums.

Who’s really pulling your leg – is driving barefoot illegal in Ontario? Find out below.

Driving barefoot laws in Ontario

The short answer is yes, it is legal to drive barefoot in Ontario. The province's Highway Traffic Act does not specifically prohibit driving without shoes, leaving drivers with the flexibility to make this decision.

However, just because something is legal doesn't necessarily mean it's the safest option. While the law allows barefoot driving, it's essential to consider the potential implications for your safety and control behind the wheel.

Why is driving barefoot dangerous?

Driving barefoot has many safety concerns associated with it. Here are the top reasons why driving barefoot is dangerous:

  • Traction and control: One of the primary concerns with driving barefoot is the potential loss of traction and control. Shoes can help grip the pedals more effectively, especially in emergencies. Barefoot driving may lead to unintended slips, making it difficult to react swiftly and safely.
  • Sensitivity: Proponents of driving barefoot argue that it enhances pedal sensitivity, enabling better control. While this might be true to some extent, it's crucial to strike a balance between pedal feel and maintaining a secure grip.
  • Protection: Shoes also offer a layer of protection for your feet. In the event of a collision, flying debris, or shards of glass, shoes can act as a barrier, reducing the risk of injury. Without proper footwear, your feet are more vulnerable to harm.
  • Temperature and comfort: In Ontario's fluctuating weather conditions, the temperature of the pedals can vary widely. The scorching metal surfaces could lead to discomfort or even burns during hot summer days. Conversely, driving barefoot in the winter could expose your feet to cold, potentially affecting your ability to concentrate on the road.

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Is it safe to drive without shoes?

While there are no laws against driving barefoot in Canada, it is not a safe option. If your lack of footwear causes you to drive dangerously and get into a crash, you can be charged with careless driving.

What are the best shoes for driving?

To ensure safe driving, it's important to choose the right footwear. Avoid shoes that hinder your ability to feel the pedal or shift gears quickly. Closed-toe shoes like sneakers, boots, or rubber shoes are the best options for driving, as they provide excellent control over speed and braking. If you need to wear heeled shoes for work or an event, pack an extra pair of driving shoes.

How to drive safely while wearing different types of shoes

Here are some tips to remember when driving with different types of shoes:

  • Flip-flops/slippers: To keep your feet securely in place, it's best to steer clear of loose-fitting shoes such as flip-flops or slip-on. These types of footwear have a tendency to slip off your feet.
  • High heels: It is important to avoid driving in high-heeled shoes due to their lack of traction, interference with shifting, and hindrance of foot movements and angles.
  • Work, hiking, or winter boots: When wearing thick boots for work or hiking, it can be challenging to measure the weight of your foot on the pedal accurately. This can lead to the risk of accelerating too quickly or braking too late. Therefore, it is essential to choose appropriate footwear to ensure safe and precise driving.
  • Shoes with laces: Always tie your laces when wearing lace-up shoes to avoid slips or pedals getting caught.
  • New shoes: Breaking in new shoes can be a challenge, as they may cause pressure points that affect your footing. It's important to get used to them gradually to avoid any issues.

Driving barefoot laws FAQs

It’s not illegal to drive in flip-flops in Ontario, but it does pose additional dangers compared to comfortable, closed toe shoes. Flipflops and sandals lack adequate protection and grip, which can lead to an accident.

Driving barefoot being illegal is a myth – no laws say you can’t. Not driving in proper footwear can cause problems such as a limited range of motion and poor friction.

If you ride a motorcycle, it may not be against the law to drive barefoot but it definitely poses health and safety risks. If you are involved in an accident, you can do more harm to yourself and see an impact on your motorcycle insurance.

Proper footwear helps you be a safer driver

Although it is legal to drive barefoot in Ontario, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. While some drivers may argue for greater comfort or improved pedal sensitivity, it is essential to consider the possible safety risks related to this practice and how it may influence your Ontario car insurance. Above all, your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road should always be the primary concern.