Flip-flops, high heels no good for safe driving, warns AA

WEARING the wrong shoes is causing trouble for British drivers and the South African Automobile Association (AA) believes South African drivers are having the same difficulties, especially those wearing flip-flops and high heels.

Research by the Automobile Association of Great Britain (AAGB) showed that more than a quarter of drivers in Britain reported driving difficulties caused by the shoes they were wearing, said AA head of public affairs Gary Ronald.

“British drivers are some of the safest in the world so if a quarter of them report trouble with footwear, we believe South African drivers might have similar issues. Our warm climate means many people wear flip-flops. Almost one-third of respondents in the AAGB survey said they’d had trouble with flip-flops.”

The dangers of driving in flip-flops range from trouble applying full braking to having them get stuck in the floor mats when releasing the clutch, brake or accelerator. They also leave the foot mostly exposed in the event of footwell deformation in a frontal crash. The AAGB research also mentioned high heels in some detail. A fifth of women reported problems caused by high heels. However, 84% of women said they kept a spare pair of shoes in the vehicle for days when they were wearing heels but had to drive.

“If you take off your heels in favour of more practical driving shoes, remember not to leave the heels lying in the driver’s footwell where they could slide forward and obstruct the brake or clutch,” Ronald advised.

He also reminded motorists to keep a small towel in their vehicles to dry the soles of their shoes if they had to walk through water to get to the vehicle. “Wet shoes can cause feet to slip off the pedals.”

The typical leather shoe worn by business people is a good choice for driving. It fits well without being uncomfortable, and is bulky enough to offer some foot protection in crashes. Running shoes and similar types of footwear are also ideal driving shoes, he said.

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