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It May Appear Comical, But it May Be Illegal to Drive in Flip Flops

It is unlikely that tourists visiting Spain will be familiar with all the laws relating to driving on Spanish roads. Those of us who reside here are expected to be aware of these laws. Most having taking a practical and theory tests back home may also have never read up on the regulations.

Summer is almost here and the spring weather has us all throwing off our winter footwear for something lighter. Off to the beach? Take note of this warning. Be conscious of what footwear you slip on to get behind the wheel of your vehicle. It could be illegal to drive in flip flops, any similar type of sandals or to go barefoot. When stopped and asked to step out of your vehicle, it is possible that you will be presented with a fine. Consider keeping a light fabric type of shoe in the car.

It has been brought to my notice that there was a police check at a roundabout near a well known village recently. Vehicles were being stopped with the sole (no pun intended!) purpose of checking drivers footwear.

Update 24/05/2016

Two years ago this short article did the rounds of Facebook. Some decided to ridicule my stance and even asking a certain group of trafico police on this. The trafico police posted on their page that “driving in flip flops is not against the law but, should you have an accident wearing such footwear, you could be at fault”. I asked this question of the group “If you could be found guilty in an accident, at what stage of the accident would the flip flops be deemed illegal?” I did not receive a response.

The law states that you must be in control of your vehicle at all times. One supposes that footwear which would likely result in the losing control of the vehicle, can be deemed illegal footwear Those who wished to see the words ‘flip flops’ in the law, must be aware that the royal decrees cannot list everything that may not be conducive to safe driving. The same way that the law does not state ‘red wine’ could be cause for being over the limit.

Though the traffic regulations in force do not say that it is an infringement to drive with flip flops or barefoot unless the driver of a vehicle can not maintain their freedom of movement or the required field of vision and permanent attention to driving. This to ensure their own safety, that of other occupants of the vehicle and that of other road users. A fine can be imposed by an agent if you are stopped and he considers that the driver did not have adequate control of the vehicle. You could also be stopped and fined depending on the knowledge or mood of the traffic officer.

Whatever we are told, we can expect some fines again this summer for what could be consider as inappropriate footwear.

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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