Is Driving Barefoot Illegal in South Dakota?

Barefoot driving is legal in South Dakota, but you shouldn't ignore the risks associated with it.
Written by Max Werner
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jun 01, 2022
There are no laws against barefoot driving in
South Dakota
. Barefoot driving is legal in all 50 states, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to drive.
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.
Safe driving is all about being comfortable—and South Dakota officials get that. Driving barefoot can be a convenient alternative, but you’ll face
additional penalties
if it leads to an accident. 
For a complete guide to barefoot driving in the Sunshine State,
is here with everything from the history of barefoot driving to its possible risks. Let’s get started.
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Is it illegal to drive barefoot in South Dakota?

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.

Is it safe to drive barefoot?

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:
  • Create less traction between the driver’s foot and pedal
  • Distract the driver from the road
  • Reduce a driver’s braking force
  • Increase the risk of serious injury to your foot during an accident
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. 
Key Takeaway A closed-toed shoe isn’t a requirement for South Dakota driving—but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the risks behind driving barefoot. Driving without shoes can decrease traction and lead to serious injury if an accident happens.

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