Quick answer: no. But do you really want to?

Ever driven a car barefoot? Whether it's to go to the beach or simply because you had to pick up something at the convenience store and couldn't be bothered to put on shoes, you probably thought it wasn't a big deal. However, someone might have come up to you and told you that it was illegal.

Is that right? Could it possibly be illegal to drive without footwear?

The short answer is "no." There is no law anywhere in Canada that forbids you from driving with your bare feet directly on the pedals. Barefoot driving being against the law is an urban myth that has been widely spread for a while now, and no one seems to know just where it originated. This applies to motorcycles too; want to feel that metal lever dig into your flesh when you upshift? There is nothing preventing you to do it — except common sense, maybe.

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But there is a bit more to it than that.

Yes, you can drive with any kind of footwear you want — or none at all — but it can become illegal if it causes you to drive erratically. For example, if you were to swerve badly because your flip-flop got lodged under your seat and you were trying to fish it out, that's a ticketable offense. Oh, and speaking of loose flip-flops, according to a poll that was run in the U.K. in 2013, almost one in three drivers said that these seemingly innocuous plastic shoes caused them to crash or have a near-miss at some point.

Thick boots aren't actually better. Winter boots, steel-toed boots, and even dress shoes with rigid soles can prevent you from feeling the pedals. In some cases, this could actually mean that in an emergency, you could miss the pedal and crash into what you were trying to avoid.

The solution? It's simple: if you know you are going to drive, put on thin-soled shoes and simply change to something more need-appropriate when you get to your destination, whether it’s flip-flop land or a dog sledding festival.

Photo: Miriam Canut on Flickr

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