Is It Legal To Drive With Thongs On In Australia?

Is It Legal To Drive With Thongs On In Australia?
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Thongs are quintessential in Aussie’s shoe rack — especially during the inferno summer months. But are they considered appropriate to wear while driving a car? Let’s take a look at what our road rules say.

There are no specific laws in Australia that prohibit drivers from using certain types of footwear. With that said, you are expected to wear shoes that are comfortable and do not inhibit your ability to drive.

Under South Australia’s Australian Road Rules 2008, rule 297, drivers must take all precautions to drive in the safest manner possible. This includes wearing shoes that are suitable for operating pedals. It could be argued that certain types of footwear – including loose-fitting thongs and high heels – do not meet this criteria.

In the event of an accident, failure to have proper shoes on could land you on the wrong side of the law. As the Australian website explains:

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.

In other words, wearing thongs while driving won’t result in a ticket in and of itself – but if you’re involved in a crash or are pulled over for erratic driving, your choice in footwear could be factored into the penalty you receive.

Seeing as it’s legal to drive barefoot in Australia, you’re usually better off chucking your thongs in the glovebox and donning them at your destination instead. Failing that, make sure your thongs have good traction and are tight-fitting.

This article has been updated since its original publication.

Is It Legal To Drive Barefoot In Australia?

When you're wearing impractical shoes to go out or when you want to duck out to the local shops quickly, it's tempting to drive without shoes on. Wearing thong or high heels while driving can be dangerous so the next best option is to just take them off and drive sans shoes. But is it legal to do this? Let's find out.

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    • Highly dependent on the type of thongs. I were mine on days off, when shoes just seem like too much work… But my things are close to the same size as my foot, and don’t flop around. I would have to try fairly hard to get them stuck under a pedal.
      And I’ve never had then slip off a pedal, compared to my shoes which slip off all the time if there’s water involved.

  • Thankyou for refraining from using the bulldust ‘flip flop’ term in this article.

    Hey, article idea:

    8 ways to worship the mighty plugger.

  • How big is your glovebox? If you wear the Surfer Joe style thongs, you would struggle to get them into a standard cars glovebox (and who wants a pair of dirty thongs in their glovebox), why not just on the floor. Whilst the passenger or rear seat floor would be best, unless you are driving extremely erratically that are unlikely to move if you place them ont he drivers floor, sideways as far back as possible.

  • I think this has been discussed before on one of the Alllure Media sites and IIRC the law is a little ambiguous (no! that would never happen surely…).
    What I usually do is when I have thongs and drive I take them off and stash them on the front passenger side – is it legal to drive barefoot? Again that law could be interpreted depending on various factors but unless I’ve smothered butter on my feet (mmmmm, butterfeet) this shouldn’t be unsafe.

    • I can say from experience wearing thongs while driving is not a good idea.
      Many years ago I stopped at a stop sign but my foot slipped slightly and on to the accelerator due to thongs. Lodged the car between front and back wheels of a truck at low speed.
      Costly but luckily no-one injured.
      Barefoot or shoes ever since.

  • If you have vinyl seats and like to wear thongs when driving, I recommend sitting on a towel after parking in the sun to stop your butt cheeks getting burnt.

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