Regardless of how long you’ve been driving, you’ve probably heard “always keep an extra pair of shoes around, barefoot driving isn’t safe.” And while it’s not wrong to be cautious about your footwear, it’s perfectly legal to forgo shoes when you’re behind the wheel.
Nope—it is not illegal to drive barefoot in South Dakota. Law enforcement officers won’t fine you if you drove barefoot during an accident.
For this information, we can thank a man named Jason Heimbaugh. In the summer of 1994, he wrote to the DMV of every state about barefoot driving. His mission was a success for barefoot drivers everywhere—as each state gave the same answer: it is legal to drive without shoes.
While it’s legal to drive barefoot in South Dakota, don’t kick off those shoes just yet. Barefoot driving isn’t recommended due to the risks it can pose to drivers on the road.
Barefoot driving is legal in South Dakota, but it doesn’t come without risks. Going without shoes can decrease a driver's control in several ways:
Ultimately, safe driving is about doing what makes you comfortable—just take it from the officials. Sioux Falls police spokesman Sam Clemens said, “our overall goal is that people are safe while operating vehicles in South Dakota,” regardless of what they wear.
He added that “people wear flip-flops all the time and feel comfortable in those… It’s hard to say whether this would lead to an accident, but we want people to be comfortable when driving.”
With that in mind, it might be even safer to go barefoot than to navigate in a pair of stilettos.
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