Losses and Lessons: Flip flops are great for the beach, but not for driving

The owner of a 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 backed into a light pole after his sandal was caught on the gas pedal.

VEHICLE INVOLVED: 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

WHAT WENT WRONG: Flip flops and sandals are not only cooler than shoes (literally), they’re easy to slip on and off—perfect for pool parties, a day at the beach, running errands, or simply walking to the mailbox. But driving? Not so much. Flip flops increase the risk of an accident because they can slide off your foot or, worse, get caught on one of the pedals. Add a little distraction to the mix and, well …

The owner of a 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 was backing out a parking space at a grocery store when his water bottle fell onto the floor. As he simultaneously leaned down to pick it up and move his foot to the brake, his flip-flop got caught on the gas pedal and the car lurched backward into a light pole.

DAMAGE/LOSS: Fortunately, the driver was not injured, but the Camaro sustained substantial damage to the bumper, trunk, and a rear fender. Repair costs were paid by Hagerty.

LESSON: Flip-flops and sandals are quick and comfortable alternatives to shoes, but never wear them to drive. Driving barefoot is legal in the United States and Canada, so kick those sandals off and put them on the floor—on the passenger side, not under the driver’s seat, since they can slide under your feet should you brake hard. And if something falls onto the floor, don’t reach down and pick it up while the car is still in gear.