Is driving in heels safe and legal in Australia? While loads of us have got into the driver’s seat with a pair of heels on and driven with no problems, it’s not recommended. Before you protest that you drive with heels on all the time with no issues, read on to find out why exactly it could be a dangerous mistake.
Is driving in heels dangerous?
Driving footwear is, to a large degree, a personal choice. Many people make their daily commutes to and from the office or a night out in heels, while others might drive only in sneakers or ballet flats. Maybe you prefer driving barefoot!
Some choices of footwear are definitely safer than others. Driving in high heels can be dangerous for a variety of reasons. Most safety experts recommend driving in flat shoes, telling drivers to avoid heels – as well as slippery thongs and bare feet –because of safety concerns.
Potential problems caused by driving in heels
A number of things can wrong when driving with heels. Here are three.
1. Stepping on the wrong pedal or missing the pedal entirely
On a flat shoe, there’s little to no gap between the bottom of your foot and the pedal. When you drive with heels on, the resting point comprises a big gap between the heel and ball of the shoe. This means that you can sometimes lose accuracy when you press a pedal or switch between them.
If you accidentally tap the accelerator instead of the brakes, you could cause a serious accident. If you brake instead of accelerating, or you miss the pedal completely, you could cause a bumper bashing just as easily.
2. Shoe getting stuck on the carpet or pedal
Because of the design of heels (stiletto, kitten, court, etc), it’s possible to get them stuck underneath the mat by your feet. They can also catch on the pedals themselves or, in the worst-case scenario, get wedged underneath the pedals.
Imagine if you needed to brake in an emergency and your heel was wedged underneath the pedal. It could be disastrous.
3. Applying the wrong pressure to the pedal
In a normal pair of flat shoes, you rest the heel of your sole on the floor or a footrest (technically called a dead pedal) when your foot isn’t on the pedals. When you have a pair of high heels on, your actual heel is elevated and doesn’t rest on the floor.
This means that when it’s time to press the pedals, it’s much harder to accurately judge how much pressure you’re applying to the pedals. Jolting stops and too-quick acceleration might be harmless most of the time, but even if you don’t cause an accident, it’s not a great way to drive.
It also means greater fuel consumption. Smooth driving is one of the many ways you can save money on car running costs. Let alone save yourself from getting into a car accident.
Is driving in heels illegal in Australia?
No, there are no laws preventing you from driving in heels. In terms of legislation, you would also be allowed to drive barefoot. That said, the Australian Road Rules do mention that the driver must take precautions to drive safely and be able to maintain control of the vehicle.
If your footwear were to impact your ability to drive safely, you could very well be breaking the law. The same would be true if your choice of driving footwear diminished your control of the vehicle. In some cases, investigations into the cause of a crash or incident might take place.
If your footwear was found to have played a role in causing a crash, there might be repercussions both legally and in terms of your car insurance.
What exactly is a criminal offence? Some Australians weighed in on the driving footwear debate to say that driving in Crocs should be – or wearing crocs anywhere in public, for that matter!
Is it better to drive barefoot?
If you think driving barefoot is a better solution than driving in heels then think again. Your bare feet are more likely to slip off the pedals than if you wear, say, grippy sneakers. And if you suffer from sweaty feet (perish the thought) then the risk increases further.
Avoid the temptation to drive barefoot and decrease your chances of causing a car accident. Speaking of avoiding accidents, you might also want to take the time to read our article on five defensive driving skills you need to know…
Make driving less stressful with car insurance
The verdict? Best to eliminate some of the worries of driving by staying away from the heels… and by getting comprehensive car insurance. Then if have a bingle you’ll be back on the road quickly, without a big dent in your back pocket.
Driving in heels – over to you
Do you ever get behind the wheel with your high heels on? Do you think it should be an offence? Let us know on our Facebook page.