Ohio Law

Is it Legal to Drive Barefoot in Ohio?

One of the most widespread myths about operating a motor vehicle in the country is that it is illegal to drive barefoot. The reality, however, is that driving barefoot is legal in all 50 states. The caveat, however, is that it is strongly recommended by many states, including Ohio, to wear proper footwear when driving a car.

And like many things, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. While there is little evidence to suggest driving barefoot is more dangerous (or safer) than driving while wearing shoes, if you do get in an accident and don’t have shoes on, you are more likely to cut your feet on broken glass or sustain other injuries.

There are at least two other reasons why you might not want to drive barefoot.

Driving Barefoot Could Cause an Accident

There are some who claim that driving barefoot is not as safe as driving while wearing shoes as your feet might be more prone to slip off the gas or brake pedals if you are barefoot. While a police officer can’t pull you over for driving barefoot (not that they would really be able to tell anyway) if you are in an accident and the officer thinks your barefoot driving may have been partly to blame, you could face a number of legal consequences.

While this might sound outrageous at first, it begins to make sense if you take a minute to think about it. There are many things that are legal, but if they cause an accident could have legal repercussions. For example, turning the radio dial while driving is legal. However, if you cause an accident because you were distracted by your radio dial, there could be a problem. The same goes for driving barefoot.

Insurance Companies Could Deny Your Claim if You Drive Barefoot

While you most likely won’t face legal problems for driving barefoot, your claim might be denied by insurance companies. Insurance adjusters are the ones who determine who was at fault for an accident and they could cite your barefoot driving as a cause. If that is the case, it might make it more difficult, or impossible, to receive compensation for damages as a result of an accident.

Preventing Car Accidents in Ohio

At the end of the day, the goal is to limit the number of car accidents and minimize your chance of being in one. Every year, more than one thousand people die in the thousands of accidents that occur in the Buckeye State. If putting shoes on or keeping an extra pair in the trunk can help keep you and your loved ones from becoming a statistic, it is worth it.

There are other things you can do to make sure you are driving safely on Ohio’s roads, including:

  • Make sure you never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you’re out with friends, choose a designated driver or call a taxi or uber.
  • Never drive if you are feeling fatigued or drowsy.
  • Wait to send messages and make calls until after you have reached your destination. The temptation to text while driving can be strong, but it can wait.
  • The state of Ohio has expanded its distracted driving laws to include things other than texting. Anytime you are behind the wheel, make sure to keep your eyes and focus on the road.
  • Wear a seatbelt. If you are in an accident, a seat belt can be the difference between life and death or serious injury.
  • Obey the posted speed limit. As recently as 2017, speeding was a factor in 26 percent of traffic deaths. Allow for extra time to make sure you can get where you are going safely.
  • Finally, pay attention to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycles.

Driving can be one of the most dangerous activities everyday people engage in on a daily basis. Countless lives have been tragically altered by drunk drivers, distracted drivers, and because people forget or either choose to not wear a seat belt.

What to Do If You Do Cause an Accident That Injures or Kills Another Person

What happens if you decide to drive without shoes, get into an accident, and cause someone to get hurt? If that person’s injuries were severe, there’s a very real chance that you’ll be charged with a crime. If the victim dies, you could face criminal charges for negligent homicide, a crime that carries serious penalties, if convicted.

It will be imperative to contact a qualified Columbus criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Criminal charges must be handled by someone who understands Ohio’s complex criminal laws and knows how to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

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