We Malaysians are always in a hurry, and we like things to be convenient. That’s why our flip flops are our go-to footwear for any events that are not formal. What you don’t know is your unassuming flip flop is also scheming to take you out when you least expect it.
Studies have shown that flip flops can be the most dangerous type of footwear to drive in. It is deemed dangerous enough, that some countries have considered it a traffic offense if you’re caught wearing one while driving.
You’re probably thinking, “No, my beloved flip flop can’t be that dangerous”, and that we here are overreacting. We beg to differ and here are three reasons why:
They can get caught between your pedals
Flip flops getting caught between your pedals happen more often than you think. It could be due to them slipping off because of rigorous movements, or the weather was hot and you decided to take them off and leave them next to your pedals.
The danger here is when we drive, items in the car tend to shift about. While you keep your eyes on the road, you could be unaware that your flip flops, which you have removed earlier, has shifted and is now trapped between your brake pedals. By the time you notice the blockage, it will already be too late.
Their thick soles could be a hazard
Having thick soles are normally a sign of comfortable footwear. Too thick of a sole can also be dangerous, as it takes away the pedal feel when driving. Pedal feel is important, it’s how you know whether to apply more or less pressure to the accelerator or brakes pedals when driving.
Having limited pedal feel is like having a sponge between your feet and the pedals. When you can’t feel much of the pedal, you tend to apply less pressure to it. This can result in you not braking fast enough to avoid a bumper to bumper collision.
Driving requires a lot of focus, and accidents could happen because we stop paying attention for a split second. An ill-fitting flip flop can be a potential hazard, as it can be a distraction or delay your reaction.
A scenario can play out like this; when coming to a stop, you shift your feet from the accelerator pedal to the brake pedal. As you’re shifting your feet, your ill-fitting flip flop can come loose causing you to take your eyes off the road for a second. When you look back up, you see the gap between you and the car in front is now very close, you panic and stomp on the wrong pedal, lunging your car forward instead.
Fortunately, some cars do come with safety features for the scenario we just mentioned. The Pedal Misoperation Control by Perodua or Pedal Misapplication Acceleration Control System II by Toyota. The system works by detecting objects or vehicles in front of you and suppresses the engine output, should it detect that you stomped on the accelerator pedal by accident. Not all cars however, come with such features.
So, the next time before you put on your favourite pair of flip flops, remember these three hazards they may pose. If you still insist on wearing flip flops, please make sure they are of the right size, not too thick and not ill-fitting for your feet.