You could find yourself with a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points for careless driving if you wear inappropriate clothing that restricts you from manoeuvring correctly.
If the incident goes to court, the penalty could go up to a £5,000 fine, nine penalty points and even a driving ban. Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that "the clothing and footwear you choose to wear whilst you are driving must not prevent you from using the controls in the correct manner."
Insurance experts CarMoney have uncovered the seven common clothing items we all wear while driving that could actually be putting us at risk of breaking the law, getting points on our licence and a hefty fine. Take a look below at the seven common items of clothing we have all worn while driving that could be restrictive to your time behind the wheel.
1. A Long Skirt or Dress
Maxi dresses and skirts are all the fashion, but when it comes to wearing this type of clothing while driving you could be faced with a fine and even penalty points on your license. The material could get caught underneath the pedals or restrict your use of them, which is obviously far from ideal.
2. Very Baggy Jeans
For the same reason as above, if your jeans are too baggy they are likely to be unfit for driving in, meaning you could be penalised. It’s been thirty-one years since Madness released their smash hit, so baggy trousers might just be past their prime.
3. Flip Flops/Sliders
Thousands of motorists get behind the wheel every year in their flip-flops and sliders when the sun hits, but just how safe are they? Shoes with a thin sole, with less than 10mm in thickness, are classed as unsafe to drive in. Just remember, flip-flops are for the beach, not the driver's seat.
4. High Heels
Your footwear should not limit your ankle movement. Alastair Grier, Managing Director of CarMoney says “If you are planning on driving somewhere where the dress code is smart, we recommend you take a change of sensible shoes for the car ride”. According to the RAC, 40% of women have admitted to driving in high heels. Although they may look classy, high heels are simply not practical for the pedals.
If your slippers are open-backed, they are highly likely to be unsafe to drive in due to your feet likely to slip out when using the pedals. Alastair continued “If your shoes do not provide enough grip to stop your foot from slipping off the pedals then they are classed as unsafe.” Wearing slippers outside of the house is highly questionable anyway, so it’s best to keep them there.
6. Chunky Boots
Although at first glance they would seem fine, any Dr. Marten boot fans or construction workers with chunky-soled boots should reconsider driving in them. “Footwear when driving should be narrow enough that it cannot accidentally touch two pedals at once,” said Alastair. Dr. Martens may look great in a photoshoot but aren’t so handy for a short drive.
Depending on the glass in your sunglasses, they could actually be too dark to drive in safely, according to the AA. Your peripheral vision can also be affected by wearing sunglasses when driving due to the frames blocking your vision. Sun visors were invented for the very purpose of allowing you to see the road clearly on a sunny day, so it’s best to use them when needed.
Alastair Grier, Managing Director of CarMoney says: “The price of your car insurance is also going to increase dramatically if you are involved in a car accident, and you were behind the wheel in inappropriate clothing that forced you to drive carelessly.”
The advice to remember in order to stay safe is to:
- Always keep a practical pair of footwear on hand in order to drive safely in.
- Have spare clothing items if your current outfit falls into any of our seven categories.
- Use your common sense: if what you’re wearing makes your drive uncomfortable, it’s probably a sign that you should change into something more practical.
It is also important to note that these are only seven examples of clothing items that may get in the way while driving, but the list is not exhaustive. If in doubt, change it out.