Driving barefoot is legal in
North Dakota. However, if an officer finds that it’s affecting your ability to drive, you can be cited for distracted driving.
It’s a classic scenario—you’re running late to drop off or pick up and realize mid-buckle that you forgot to put your shoes on. Perhaps you begrudgingly run back for some proper footwear, or perhaps you shrug your shoulders and speed off wondering—is this even legal?
Contrary to what most would assume, driving barefoot is actually legal in every single state, including the District of Columbia. But there are limits. Some states, like North Dakota, highly recommend wearing shoes while driving and may cite you if driving without them threatens anyone’s safety on the road.
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Is it illegal to drive barefoot in North Dakota?
Nope. Driving barefoot in North Dakota is completely legal. In fact, there’s never been any legislation saying that it isn’t.
Speculation over the existence of barefoot driving laws actually pushed a man named Jason Heimbaugh to debunk the myth in 1994. After writing to each DMV in every state, including D.C., to ask whether it was legal to drive barefoot in each jurisdiction, he received one resounding answer—yes.
The answer hasn’t changed today. It is still legal to drive barefoot in every state. North Dakota’s no exception. But this doesn’t mean you won’t face any repercussions if you do—North Dakota’s law enforcement can and will cite you with distracted driving if barefoot driving impairs your ability to operate a vehicle.
Is it safe to drive barefoot?
This might be the better question. While barefoot driving is legal in every state, it’s widely condemned because doing so is unsafe.
- Without shoes, you have less traction to control the pedal
- Your braking force is reduced
- The odd sensation may be a distraction for many drivers
- Your feet are at much greater risk of injury in the event of an accident
As a whole, barefoot driving tends to decrease a driver’s control over the vehicle.
However, it may actually be safer to drive barefoot than to drive in impractical shoes like high heels or flip flops. So if you’re at the beach enjoying the beautiful North Dakota summer, you may be better off kicking those flip flips off for the drive home.
The bottom line: it’s not illegal to drive barefoot, but wearing a closed-toe shoe with good traction is the safest way to control your vehicle. That said, you may actually be safer driving without shoes than with an impractical shoe like flip flops or heels.
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