Is it Illegal to Drive Barefoot in Oregon?

A question that is asked rather often is whether it is legal or illegal to drive barefoot in Oregon. The simple answer is:

There are no strict laws that state prohibition of driving without shoes in Oregon. So technically speaking it is not illegal to drive barefoot in Oregon, but there are some safety guidelines that mention the use of basic footwear during driving:

  • There are safety guidelines mentioning that shoes ensure better contact of the sole with the pedal or brake, meaning that driving without shoes impairs your safety as well as vehicle control by the driver.
  • Shoes provide a great deal of comfort to the drivers and prevent over-stress of the bare feet due to excessive barefoot driving. In some cases, especially driving in traffic jams, for instance, you will need to use your feet an excessive amount which could impair your driving.

This means that while it may not be illegal to drive barefoot, it is still not recommended, and any creative police officer might still be able to find a way to punish you. If you were to be stopped, or worse, involved in a car collision or accident, a police officer could decide that you are at fault quicker and officers have even been known to book people under reckless driving.

is it illegal to drive barefoot in Oregon?

So is it illegal to drive barefoot in Oregon? While it may not be illegal to drive barefoot, it is still not recommended, and any creative police officer might still be able to find a way to punish you. A hefty fine, or at the very least a legal battle could ensue. I recommend that you always wear proper and fit-for-purpose footwear.

For motorcycles, the law in Oregon states that the motorcycle driver, as well as potential passengers, must have decent footwear compulsorily while driving.

Safety during driving

The above deals with the law and what technically speaking is allowed or not allowed. But really, what should be important to you, is your safety on the road. Your safety, and that of those around you. Simply because you’re allowed to drive barefoot in Oregon, doesn’t mean you have to do it.

Sure, it may at times be easier not to spend a couple of minutes putting shoes on, and for some, it may be more comfortable and feel freer. But your safety is something none of us want to put at risk. the simple fact is, something as simple as taking a couple of minutes more at some point may save your life or that of others.

driving barefoot in Oregon

Problems associated with barefoot driving

As a driving instructor, I can understand that there are things to cut corners on. You will not do every single little thing exactly as I teach you. but personally, I find it an unnecessary move not to put shoes on. I have listed my reasons and problems with barefoot driving below:

  • Driving barefoot can make the driving process more difficult. Some examples of compromising moments may include the slipping of your foot from the pedals. This can happen because your foot naturally has less grip than the sole of your shoe will have. You also do not have this harder surface that is a little more forgiving to the fact your foot may be in slightly the wrong position. This would lead to a great blow over the basic safety rules that need to be followed.
  • Driving without shoes for longer durations can also create strain over the foot. As a result of you may get more tired, especially during periods of busy traffic on the road and having to use the clutch more than normal. Worst case scenario, you could injure yourself due to the additional strain. Blisters could even develop under the stress.
  • If you do choose to drive barefoot in Oregon, or any other state, make sure you do not leave your shoes near your feet and place them away safely. Sometimes the discarded footwear of the driver could get in contact with the brake or clutch and interfere with its normal functioning. Critically, you could jam your own braking pedal, which could cause you to lose control and crash. Never be careless and compromise your safety on the road!
  • Over a long time, your pedals could get affected by barefoot driving. I know this sounds silly, but your body fluids will corrode a lot quicker and affect the integrity of your pedals. This may not be an immediate problem but could cost you a hefty sum when the time comes your pedals need to be replaced.

Is it illegal to drive barefoot in Oregon? No, it is not. Is it sensible? I’ll leave that up to you. Personally, as a driving instructor, I would say the cons by far outweigh the pros. It’s easy to put some shoes on and stay safe. Why would you compromise this?


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