Drivers struggle in summer footwear

August 19, 2013 | By | In News

With the recent heat wave, you’ve probably been tempted to free your feet by donning a pair of flip-flops. However, jumping behind the wheel while wearing them could be an accident waiting to happen, according to research conducted by insurance provider Sheilas’ Wheels.

33 per cent of motorists admit to wearing the loose-fitting footwear while driving on a regular basis, despite one in nine experiencing a flip-flop getting stuck under a pedal.

27 per cent of these people admitted that their choice of footwear has caused them to have a mishap, with 7 per cent blaming them for an accident.

While it may seem a small issue, the fractional delay in braking caused by flip-flops can add around 3.5 metres to your stopping distance when travelling at 60mph.

The research showed that 1.4 million accidents and near misses are attributed to flip-flops annually, making them more dangerous than wearing a pair of high-heels.

Drivers have been found not to be able to move their feet as quickly between pedals, and exert less pressure on the brakes when wearing flip-flops.

The solution could be to carry a spare set of driving shoes in the car, something that 36 per cent of women do, but only 12 per cent of men.

That said, one in ten women admitted to Sheilas’ Wheels that they drive in shoes that they find difficult to walk in.

To counter the problem, Sheilas’ Wheels is now offering a portable heel support accessory, which offers drivers greater pedal control if they insist on wearing flip-flops while driving – perhaps a smart move given that one in five drivers have never even considered how their choice of footwear might affect their safety in the car.

Jacky Brown, of Sheilas’ Wheels, said: “It’s worrying that so many drivers out there do not realise the impact their footwear choices can have on their safety at the wheel.

“Millions may think they can drive safely but may not realise the shortcomings of the flip-flop until it’s too late – putting themselves, their passengers and other drivers at risk every time they get in the car.

“Our Sheilas’ shoe design could provide drivers with the ultimate fashion accessory for the car and handbag this summer – allowing women to be both stylish and safe whilst driving.”

Do you think flip-flop accessories are the right way to encourage safer driving, or should drivers put safety before their fashion concerns? Have your say below.

Picture: Fotolia

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