How about a good fisking? There’s an article from last year on CarInsurance.com asking Is barefoot driving legal?
One has to wonder how it can be so right and so wrong at the same time.
Their answer to the question is “Yes”, so there’s that.
Except that it’s really a “Yes, but . . .”, and they have a very big but. Almost Kardashian.
But it is so typical of the sorts of disinformation we have to put up with so much. The writer just imagines things, or finds some sort of so-called “expert” who imagines things, and makes that the answer. They don’t seem to understand that expertise actually requires testing one’s hypotheses.
They talk to somebody from a police department:
Bare feet can easily slip off the pedals or even make drivers more likely to miss the pedals, says Jennifer Coats, spokesperson for the Berkeley, Calif., Police Department. Bare feet do not have the same braking force as shoes and in an emergency situation, every second counts. And bare feet are much more likely to be cut or burned from broken glass and fire.
Barefoot driving itself is not a crime, but 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 a collision coverage claim.
How the heck are bare feet going to slip off of a pedal? Bare feet actually mold to the pedals because they don’t have hard soles the way shoes do. Or how do they make you miss a pedal? I’d really like to see an empirical study that demonstrated that. Instead, as is obvious, that spokesperson just made it up (and somehow the reporter is too stupid to follow up with the obvious questions).
As they did when talking about the braking force. It takes approximately 10 pounds of force to operate a brake pedal these days (tested on my own car, but there are legal requirements, too). If you can stand on your bare feet, you can apply 10 pounds of force. (Actually, a lot more!) It is not a consideration.
Then there is the claim about reckless driving. Actually, bare feet are more likely to lead to wreckless driving (ha, ha! get it?) because you can feel the pedals and know how good of a grip you have on them.
In the article they actually do one of those “he said, she said” where they pretend to find balance by including somebody from the other side. In this case, they ask someone from the SBL. But the whole structure of this kind of “reporting” is that the counter-point is the weak one. So it’s a hidden slam.
They also criticize certain types of shoes, mostly correctly. On their list are flip-flops and stilettos. Flip-flops can get caught on or under pedals. There are news stories of crashes related to that: Rhws Junior School crash driver was wearing flip flops.
But then they also make stupid arguments, pulling out a standard myth and applying it to driving:
Flip-flops offer zero heel support . . .
Has anybody ever said you need heel support to drive? What the . . .?
But they do get high heels right:
High heels elevate the heel of the foot and distort a driver’s ability to gauge the pressure being put on the pedals.
Yeah, and they also distort the angle at which your feet hit the pedal, and require really straightening the ankle to apply pressure.
The “article” ends with a list that has some items that make no sense at all:
If you insist on driving barefoot:
- Keep a pair of sneakers in the car for driving
So if you insist on driving barefoot put on a pair of sneakers? Uh, that’s not driving barefoot!
There is also
- Put your shoes on the passenger side to prevent them from rolling under the pedals
This is good advice. Better advice is never to wear shoes so you don’t have to put them anywhere in the car!
And then there is this:
- Do not drive barefoot with wet feet. They are more likely to slip off the pedals.
Do they have any evidence for this? No way. Pedals are well-textured and your skin molds to the texture, providing grip regardless of whether your feet are wet or not. (And that is not true of shoes.) Besides, wet feet outside of shoes dry out very quickly. (I bet they don’t even realize that because they’ve never gone barefoot enough to find it out. But if you always wear shoes and get wet feet, you know that the shoes will retain that wetness nearly forever.)
So once again we have to deal with an article, from what looks like an authoritative source, that simply doesn’t know what it is talking about.
And thereby are spread myths and misconceptions.