Comparative Negligence, Car Accidents, & Your Shoes
In our previous blog, “How Clothing & Shoes Can Affect Slip & Fall Claims,” we discussed how footwear can be investigated in premises liability cases. To review, Connecticut follows modified comparative negligence laws; under these laws, while plaintiffs can still recover compensation if they were not more than 50% at fault for their accident, their settlement award will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
Just as in slip and fall cases (or other personal injury claims), the opposing counsel may try to argue that your footwear contributed to your injuries and/or the car accident itself. In this article, we will discuss what shoes should be avoided as well as the ways in which shoes can impact your driving abilities.
Do Shoes Affect How You Drive?
Approximately 16,000 car accidents are caused by pedal errors each year. Wearing improper driving shoes can lead to a pedal error, which occurs when your foot slips off the brake or acceleration pedal or the wrong pedal is pushed. Flip flops and high heels are the most dangerous shoes to wear while driving; however, any shoe that has a slippery sole, slips off easily, and doesn’t have a secure heel can affect your driving abilities and safety.
Shoes to Avoid Wearing If You Plan to Drive
The best shoes to wear while driving are sneakers or traditional driving shoes, which are slip-on moccasin-type shoes that have a rubber sole; these shoes allow drivers to easily move their feet between the brake and gas pedal and have better grip and pedal traction. While you may wear other shoes to match your outfit or aesthetic, consider keeping either of these footwear options (or a similar shoe) in your car to wear until you reach your destination.
You should avoid wearing the following shoes when driving:
- Cowboy boots. The heel on these boots may affect your ability to apply or release pressure on the pedals.
- Flip flops. These shoes can easily slip off and/or get stuck under the pedal as they do not have a strap to secure them to the heel of your foot.
- High heels. You may struggle to pivot your foot between the pedals with heels; in some cases, drivers who wear heels hover their feet over the pedals rather than resting them on the pedals, which can lead to delayed reaction times and fatigue.
- New shoes. If you get new shoes with leather, wooden, or other soles that do not provide a lot of traction, you should wait to wear them while driving until they are broken in. The shoe’s soles may be slippery until broken in, which puts you at risk of having your foot slide between or off of either pedal.
- Slipper or house shoes. While these shoes do have a heel strap (in most cases) and are enclosed, they do not have a lot of grip or traction on the bottom, and their loose fit presents a risk to drivers as well.
- Wedges. Wedge sandals or shoes can also end up stuck under the pedals (typically sideways because of the deep heel). However, if you wear these shoes, you also risk accidentally applying more pressure than needed to the brake or gas pedal because of the altered depth perception the shoes may give you.
- Work boots. If your work boots are especially large, you may not be able to accurately determine where the pedals are or how much pressure should be applied.
It is also important to note that not wearing shoes and driving barefoot is also dangerous. Feet can get sweaty, which affects your ability to pivot or react in a timely fashion. You may also struggle to apply the right amount of pressure to the pedal when you’re barefoot.
Contact Our Firm
With over 100 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos Sousa P.C. are equipped to help you navigate your car accident claim. Once you retain our services, we can work to help you maximize your compensation and minimize your liability if you were wearing footwear that may have contributed to your accident. We handle a wide range of car accident cases, including those that are considered:
- Distracted driving accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Reckless driving accidents
- Speeding accidents
Request an initial consultation by contacting our team online or calling (203) 583-8299 today. We offer services in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.