Driving tests

Is it legal to wear jandals or flip-flops when driving?

When it’s hot outside your favourite leisure footwear is likely to be the humble jandal or flip-flop. But is it actually legal to drive a car or truck, or ride a motorbike while wearing them?

The law states that you must be in control of your vehicle and doesn’t specifically state that this type of footwear is illegal. While you can probably operate a car, truck, motorbike or scooter perfectly adequately in ideal conditions, in an emergency when you need to brake heavily, or (on a bike) put your foot down, flip-flops will fail you. They can get caught under a pedal or (for a motorcyclist) offer no protection or grip when it’s required. On a motorbike, they will leave little or no grip on wet pegs if it suddenly rains.

If you have an accident and the cause of it is your footwear then you can expect to be held liable and potentially prosecuted.

Cars

While it’s not illegal to wear them it’s better to go barefoot as you will have some feeling of what’s happening with the pedals. Barefoot driving might not be that comfortable for long distances, though.

Motorbikes and scooters

The only legally mandated safety equipment is a helmet but tarmac vs skin is an uneven battle and if you don’t mind the skin being stripped off your feet if you need to bail off your bike, then you can continue wearing jandals. We recommend you don’t search Google for images of this if you don’t have a strong stomach. When riding a bike you should be wearing full protective clothing to improve your chances of remaining uninjured (or un-dead) if you have an accident.

Trucks

There might be a valid safety reason for you to wear proper work boots to protect your feet while dealing with whatever you are carrying or pulling, plus jandals just don’t look that professional. It’s advised to wear proper enclosed footwear.

Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

Tagged with: | Posted in Advice
When was the last time you checked your Road Code knowledge?

Try some tests for free!

Road Code car quiz

Road Code motorbike quiz

Road Code heavy vehicle quiz