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Driving in heels?

Most of us have a pretty good sense of choosing the right shoes for a certain activity. For instance, we won’t wear slippers to play soccer. But, few people realize that they should select the right shoes while driving a vehicle.

Problems arising from driving in high heels


    Have you tested certain types of footwear that can inhibit your driving? For example, wearing high heels as driving shoes could be dangerous. How will high heels affect the driving? It might be troublesome from the start for it is hard to point your toes because of the narrow space within the shoes. Shifting from pedal to pedal seems to be another problem. For female drivers, wearing high heels requires greater muscle activation. Later, it will result in instability and muscle fatigue of the ankle joint. Altogether, high heels will hamper your handling while driving.


    Accidents or cases caused by driving with heel


      The “Safe Shoes” report commissioned by a shoe company Sheilas’ Wheels found in 2007 that 80% of female drivers wore inappropriate footwear when controlling their car. A third (33%) of all female drivers confessed to wearing flip-flops. While 18% claimed that they were barefoot when driving, which can be extremely hazardous and currently illegal in some parts of the UK and elsewhere as well. At least half of female drivers surveyed said they chose what shoes to wear when getting ready in the morning based on their outfit rather than being the safest for driving in.


      Reportedly, more than 11.5 million women are putting themselves and others at risk by wearing the wrong footwear, such as high heels, when driving. Insurance figures show that four out of five female drivers admit to driving in inappropriate footwear like stilettos. Insurance company Sheilas' Wheels surveyed in 2008 that - out of 750 women, 75 admitted having an accident or "near-miss" because their shoes had slipped off or got stuck between or under the pedals. 45% of them confessed they could not be bothered to change shoes before they started driving, even if they knew the ones they were wearing were unsafe. It's astonishing to find so many people are putting themselves, passengers and other drivers at risk by wearing wrong footwear.


      According to news from Daily, Julie Hunter, 42, received an eight-month suspended sentence and seven-year driving ban after hitting fitness instructor Debbie Riches, 21, during a test drive. Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC ruled that Hunter's stiletto ankle boots had probably contributed to her losing control of the Alfa Romeo Spyder. Hunter pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.


      is it illegal to drive in heels?

        Is driving in high heels legal? Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that before setting off on a journey in your car, you should ensure that ‘clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner’. You should wear the appropriate footwear unless you are at risk for injury.


        Driving with due care and attention

          Stilettoes and other shoes with sharp, pointy heels aren't practical for driving. Then what is the safest footwear to drive in? What other options do we have for driving? To determine what type of footwear to wear, it is important to take the sole of the shoe into consideration. The sole shouldn’t be too thick, and should have enough grip on the pedal to avoid slipping. This also explains why the high heels are inappropriate to wear while driving. With thick soles, your feet can’t feel the pedals properly, so you can’t accurately judge how much pressure to apply. You will find braking and accelerating more abrupt and jerky with thick soles. However, we also recommend to avoid shoes that have really wide soles. Wearing shoes like this, you might run the risk of pressing two pedals at once. 


          Basically the important things are: being able to feel the pedals and being able to accurately gauge how much pressure to apply. With high heels, these two things are completely impossible, which could be endangering your lives, your passengers’ lives, and other drivers’ lives.


          Driving Barefoot?


            Since selecting shoes becomes so complicated, what about just taking off the shoes? You should think twice before driving barefoot. Crash avoidance and bringing a vehicle to a sudden stop requires not only effective brakes, but also the ability to react swiftly and apply adequate pressure to the brake pedal. However, driving barefoot cannot help you react in time. First, the clutch may require heavy pressure to be applied especially if it’s an older car. When it comes to a relatively small pedal, it requires drivers to exert a lot of pressure on the front part of their feet. Compared to barefoot, the sole of a shoe can distribute pressure more evenly. In addition, repeated use of the clutch could end up being painful, even to the point of causing cramp or other spasms in the foot and reducing the ability of the driver to effectively appropriate a vehicle.


            Operating pedals with wet feet is also dangerous as pedals can become slippery. It is possible that you can’t press the pedal sometime. Your foot could slip off the pedal due to insufficient grip. Nevertheless, when you put on nylon socks or tights before shoes, it can reduce traction between your foot and the pedals.


            Even in the unfortunate event of a crash, appropriate driving shoes are likely to offer a reduction in foot injury. In cases of traffic crashes, you may tread on broken glass and debris.


            Although the risk of driving barefoot is debatable, barefoot driving itself is not a crime. A reckless or negligent driving charge could result if your bare feet -- or other choice of footwear -- were somehow responsible for an accident. It could certainly be a factor in determining fault for the collision and who makes the car insurance claim opens a new window.


            Solutions- adjustable high heels

              Generally speaking, technology has delivered tons of safety enhancing features for our vehicles, ranging from side air bags to anti-lock braking systems and traction control. But, we all notice that accidents still occur daily, monthly and annually, because of much simpler deficiencies in our driving preparedness, such as our choice of shoes so on and so forth. This issue is especially relevant to high-heeled shoes where the most welcomed fashion by women may not be the ideal choice when it comes to controlling a car.


              Now, there appears a “solution” for high heels’ lovers, offered by UK based car insurance company Sheilas’ Wheels. This company’s new pair of shoes, named “the Sheila Driving Heel”, is designed to combine two types of shoe into one – a safe, flat driving shoe that transforms into a stylish pair of heels at a push of a button.


              The Sheila Driving Heel as a fashionable choice of shoes, gives women safety when driving. Because a high heel part can easily switch to a safe flat. The design will effectively reduce the risk caused by driving in heels, including the lack of grip, tendency to get caught under the pedal and the uncomfortable feeling due to the long time wearing of high heels. What is more, the flat shoes is reported to lessen pressure on the knee and lower back to improve comfort behind the wheel. A tread on the sole can also aid grip on the pedals. 


              Whether to buy a convertible high heel is a personal decision. So why not carry an extra pair of shoes? For people who have committed to just have no shoes stored in their car, maybe you should change your mind. Throw another pair of shoes into the backseat. They can be similar shoes: a pair of flats will work, or a pair of sneakers will do just fine. It won’t hurt anybody.


              This isn't a style suggestion. We really don't care if you have one pair of "business casual" shoes; that's beside the point. You should pack an extra pair of shoes for safety reasons. It is not worthwhile to get hurt by your high heels.


              Start to think about it! Even though you have put on your beautiful high heels, you can still spend only a few seconds to change shoes that are more suitable to wear when driving. And your feet will not feel painful, either. In this way, you're also giving your high-heeled shoes enough time to air out. Driving tends to necessitate lots of treading and pedaling, so your feet and shoes really will be put to the test in driving. One could always pack some washable and easy-to-wear shoes like Crocs and leave them in the car. 


              Those desperate to pack light should opt for some featherweight travel shoes or barefoot-style sneakers. I don’t recommend them simply because they are not perfect shoes for drivers. 


              Unfortunately, according to the research this solution simply isn’t practical. Under a fifth of female drivers keep a spare pair of ‘driving shoes’ in the car to change into(which is obviously not very positive to know), while nearly a quarter says they feel reluctant to change their shoes when behind the wheel even if they know they are not the safest for driving. 


              Thanks to fashion designers, we have so many styles of shoes to select now. Then, this can easily lead to one unexpected end- a lack of understanding of which shoes are best suited to driving. I guess it is very understandable when we have stilettos, sling-backs, strappy sandals, wedges and others. A survey shows over half (54%) of people believe that sports trainers are the safest to drive with. But actually it is not the truth. Thick soles and chunky design can limit both movement between the pedals. 


              Drivers should realize the danger they are putting themselves, and others, in by driving in inappropriate shoes. Please pay enough attention to the footwear that would best enable you to control your vehicles safely! High heels are seriously hampering your ability to drive safely, and could have fatal consequences. On the other hand, changing your shoes before each journey that only takes a few seconds can help ensure you arrive safely!

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