When it gets hot, the body asks us to strip down clothing to the minimum. Socks and shoes aren’t necessary. Sandals let our feet breathe, but are they all right for driving?
It all depends. While many people think that driving with flip flops on can earn you a fine, Spain’s General Traffic Directorate reminds us that this isn’t the case.
It all hangs on whether the footwear in question impedes the driver’s freedom of movement and his control of the vehicle, or whether they might be a danger for him and other people on the road. As Gabriel Sanmartín explains in an article published on the DGT website, it depends on whether he is violating one of the General Traffic Regulations:
Article 3. Drivers
- One should drive with the diligence and precaution necessary to avoid any harm, to oneself or others, being careful not to endanger either the driver himself or the other occupants of the vehicle and the rest of the people on the road. It is strictly forbidden to drive in a negligent or reckless way.
Article 17. Control of the vehicle or of animals
- At all times drivers should be able to control their vehicles or animals.
Article 18. A driver’s other obligations
- The driver of a vehicle is obliged to maintain freedom of movement, the necessary field of vision, and permanent attention to driving so as to guarantee his own safety, that of the other occupants of the vehicle, and that of other people using the road. To this end, he should be especially careful to maintain the correct position and that passengers also do so, and be sure that objects or animals being transported are correctly placed so there is no interference between any of them and the driver.
To sum up: if traffic police consider that the flip flops you’re wearing can make driving difficult and are a danger for your safety and the other people on board, they will fine you.
The same thing applies to people who drive with an elbow out the window. Or if they are shirtless because, in the case of a collision or accident, being without this garment could worsen any damage caused by a seatbelt.
Sanmartín even recalls the warning by the Regulatory Management Unit of the General Traffic Directorate, according to which there are infractions “not for eating, drinking or going barefoot… but because such activity can affect driving safety.” Common sense, Sanmartín concludes, is always the best travel companion.