Driving in slippers is more dangerous than driving in high heels

In a tropical country like Singapore, it is common to wear slippers often, but it may not be the best thing to wear when you drive. Slippers, or flip flops as the Western countries refer to them as, are actually the most dangerous to wear at the wheel.

Research studies, as reported, showed that slippers slow braking time by up to 0.13 seconds, which is like travelling the distance of 3.5 metres at 100km/h. Comparing between slippers and high heels, it was found that moving your foot from the brake to the accelerator takes a longer time in slippers compared to wedges.

Also, the tendency of slippers coming off easily and getting stuck under the pedal is higher than in heels. I, for one, admit that I have nearly gotten into accidents because my slipper got trapped under the pedal. It happened more than once and it scared me enough to not want to wear slippers and drive anymore.

Many people don’t actually realise how important it is to wear the right type of footwear when driving. The most ideal type of footwear for safe driving will allow the foot to feel the right pressure and grip on the pedals so you can control braking and acceleration properly. The footwear should also not slip off the pedals easily or press on both pedals at the same time.

I spend a lot of time at the wheel and this can lead to tired feet, thus wearing the right footwear will help to reduce the risk of accident. Most of the time I am in my sneakers or gym shoes, which are perfect for driving. The soles of the shoes should not be more than 2.5cm, as recommended by experts, and there should be sufficient grip in the sole. The shoes should also not be too heavy so our reaction time is not affected.

If you don’t have such suitable footwear, then the next best option is to go barefoot; although I strong advise a good pair of shoes for driving. Slippers may slip off when you drive and there is no protection for your feet. However, while heels are deemed more appropriate than slippers, they hold their own risk too. Stilettos, for example, have a risk of the sharp pointed heels getting caught in the floor mat or positioning your foot in an awkward angle.

You might want to consider having a designated pair of shoes for driving that you leave in the car. It may be a bit of a hassle to keep changing to your shoes each time you get back to the car, but that small effort will go a long way in keeping you safe on the roads!

*This was first published in REV magazine.