Driver Knowledge Tests

Is it illegal to drive or ride in thongs?

In summer your favourite weekend footwear is likely to be the humble thong. Many people drive and ride wearing them, but is it legal?

Thongs don’t provide the best traction on the pedals and they can get caught underneath the pedals. If you have an accident and your thongs are to blame then you risk being prosecuted for not being in control of your vehicle.

Cars

It’s not technically illegal to drive wearing thongs, but you must be in proper control of your vehicle. It’s OK (and usually better) to drive barefoot so that you can feel the pedals. In fact, Denny Hulme, ex-Formula 1 champion and former Australian Touring Car driver drove barefoot in the early days in races!

If you do drive barefoot put your thongs in the passenger footwell, or in the back so that they don’t slide under the brake pedal.

Motorbikes and scooters

Even riding a scooter or motorbike it’s not technically illegal, but it is extremely risky. The only mandatory safety equipment is a helmet, but bear in mind that if you hit the tarmac at 50kph and you’re not wearing shoes, all the skin will be removed from whichever parts of your feet touch the tarmac while you are sliding.

Trucks

You can drive your truck wearing thongs, but are you compromising safety if you have to get out and deal with your load? Also, does it look professional for your employer?

Other inadvisable footwear

Some other footwear such as platform shoes and extreme heels are not recommended for driving. Additional to thongs, there are plenty of types of slip-on sandals which don’t have that much grip on the foot. We also wouldn’t advise wearing shoes with no tread when riding a motorbike because there will be much less grip on the pegs.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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