Current Affairs

Jandals prohibited when driving?

Is it true that some types of footwear – such as Jandals – are prohibited when you’re driving?

By Kevin Milne
Recently, while driving my car, I was rear-ended by a woman who blamed the accident on her wearing Jandals. Luckily, it didn’t do much damage and I was covered by insurance anyway. But a friend of mine told me that I should have contacted the police about the incident, because it is illegal to drive a vehicle while wearing Jandals. Is that true?

No, it is not true. It is not illegal to wear Jandals when driving. If this were the case, I imagine that driving in high heels, platform-sole shoes or footy boots would also have to be banned. It is a common misconception that you can’t wear Jandals while driving. This probably arises from warnings from the New Zealand Automobile Association (AA) and Ministry of Transport to take considerable care when doing so.
Jandals can easily slip off pedals, especially if wet. And you can get a bit caught up when switching your foot between accelerator and brake. But my personal experience is, with due care, driving in dry Jandals offers no real threat to safety. Although, if you find yourself in Jandals and need to drive somewhere, it makes sense to slip them off and drive barefoot. As with Jandals, it is not illegal to drive bare-footed and I think there’s less chance of losing control in bare feet than in Jandals. But the choice is up to you.
If you have short legs or tiny feet, maybe you should avoid taking your shoes off when driving. And if driving barefooted tickles you – the carpets can have that effect – I would recommend keeping your Jandals on. You don’t need any distractions when you’re driving – and, also, giggling when you’re alone in the car is not a good look.
Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email consumer@nzww.co.nz, or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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