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Is it Illegal to Drive in Flip-Flops in Virginia?

The safe and prudent operation of a motor vehicle requires a driver who is capable of appropriately controlling the car. All states require drivers to correctly steer the vehicle and operate its pedals. Anything that interferes with these abilities, including improper footwear, could get the driver into trouble. No law in Virginia or any state in the US, however, makes it illegal to drive in flip-flops.

driving in flip flops

Is it Dangerous to Drive in Flip-Flops?

Flip-flops or sandals might not be the safest footwear for a driver in Virginia. Since flip-flops do not attach to a driver’s foot, they could fly off while driving. This could distract a driver enough to cause an accident. The shoe could also catch on the gas pedal, making it impossible to lift the foot and move it to the brake fast enough to prevent a collision. It is up to a driver to choose shoes that are safe for driving. Failing to do so, resulting in a related car accident, could end in the driver’s liability for the crash.

Virginia’s Laws Focus on Safety, Not Footwear

Virginia does not have a law controlling what footwear drivers can wear while driving – or a law requiring footwear at all. Drivers may operate motor vehicles barefoot, in flip-flops or sandals, in heels, flats, or sneakers. The footwear the driver chooses, however, must allow the driver to safely and prudently operate the motor vehicle. If wearing flip-flops compromises the driving ability, such as by trapping the foot to the gas pedal or making it more difficult to hit the brakes, the driver could face legal repercussions.

Virginia gives infractions to drivers who break traffic laws. For example, a driver could receive an infraction for speeding, red-light running, rolling through stop signs, failing to yield the right-of-way, making an unsafe lane change or driving recklessly. Infractions often involve having to pay a fine. An infraction could also lead to the restriction of the driver’s license depending on the situation. If a broken roadway rule causes an accident, the driver could also face civil liability for the damages of any victims.

A driver should not wear flip-flops if doing so could contribute to him or her breaking a roadway rule. While a driver in Virginia will not receive a ticket specifically for driving in flip-flops, the driver could get into trouble if the flip-flops lead to a car accident or traffic infraction. If improper footwear could foreseeably present a hazard such as a shoe getting caught between the pedals, for example, it could be irresponsible for the driver to wear the shoes anyway. If a driver ignores safety concerns relating to his or her footwear and the shoes contribute to an accident, the driver could be liable for damages.

Proving a Driver’s Liability for Wearing Flip-Flops

If another driver crashed into you and caused your injuries, that driver could be liable for your damages. Virginia is an add-on no-fault state, meaning fault or no-fault laws may apply to your car accident case. If you chose to add no-fault insurance, your own insurance provider may pay for your injuries through personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. You will not need to prove anyone else’s fault to obtain PIP benefits from your carrier.

If you choose the fault insurance route, you will need to prove the other driver’s liability. The at-fault party’s insurance company may require evidence of negligence, such as photographs of vehicle damages or a police report. It may not be necessary to prove that what caused your accident was the other driver wearing flip-flops, however. It will generally be enough to establish that the other driver made a driving mistake that caused your collision, such as failing to hit the brakes on time or running a red light. A Richmond car accident lawyer may be able to help you prove fault and obtain compensation for an auto accident with a driver wearing flip-flops in Virginia.