Footwear warning to Irish tourists travelling to Spain and Portugal

1 footwear holiday.jpg
1 footwear holiday.jpg

A group of driving experts are warning Irish holidaymakers to choose their footwear carefully this summer when stepping behind the wheel.

George C Ballard Motor Assessors told Dublin Live that unsuitable footwear can be extremely dangerous in emergency situations.

Countries like Spain, France and Germany are far stricter on footwear than here with tourists at risk of landing themselves with an on-the-spot fine.

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The Cork based family business explained that the importance of correct driving shoes cannot be overemphasised as they can affect your braking ability.

Stephen Ballard told Dublin Live: “Correct foot wear while driving is very important and cannot be underestimated.

“With summer months upon us a lot of people are using flip flops or sliders while at the beach or just enjoying the good weather however it is imperative that one does not continue to use these while driving.

“Loose fitting shoes like sliders or flip flops can reduce one’s capacity to firmly apply the brakes in an emergency situation. Although it is not illegal to drive in these types of footwear in Ireland, it could be deemed dangerous if it affects the driver’s ability to control the vehicle sufficiently.

“In particular when moving from the accelerator pedal to the brake pedal the heel of these shoes can become lodged behind the pedals causing one’s bare foot to do the work.

“Similarly, driving barefoot, which is also technically not illegal in Ireland, could also be deemed dangerous/careless as it reduces the force one can apply to the brake pedal particularly in an emergency situation.

“For any one traveling abroad during the summer it should be noted that it is illegal to drive in loose footwear in some European countries Spain, France, Germany with an on-the-spot fine handed out for this offence.”

Stephen has a top tip for drivers who may be heading to beaches both at home and abroad this summer.

He said: “It is always a good idea to keep flat, secure fitting shoes in the car so that one can change before driving.

“One should keep a pair of flat sole, comfortable, snug fitting shoes in the car to change into before beginning one’s journey i.e. sneakers, tennis shoes, flat boots, etc.

High-heels are also a complete no-no as they can contribute to the loss of control of a car in an emergency situation.

A simple set of guidelines from the Royal Automobile Club will make sure that you always have the correct pair of driving shoes at hand.

These shoes should:

  • Have a sole no thicker than 10mm
  • The sole shouldn’t be too thin or soft.
  • Provide enough grip to stop your feet slipping off the pedals.
  • Not be too heavy.
  • Not limit ankle movement.
  • Be narrow enough to avoid accidentally depressing two pedals at once.

Read more: Spain airport sees Irish tourists given ‘preferential treatment’ as angry Brits watch on

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.