Is It Illegal To Drive Barefoot in New Hampshire? Here’s What the Law Says in 2024

Hitting the open road with the windows down and the wind in your hair – it’s a feeling of pure freedom. But what about your feet? Many drivers may have been told at some point that cruising barefoot behind the wheel is illegal. If you’re a resident of the Granite State, you might be wondering, “Is it illegal to drive barefoot in New Hampshire?”

The answer, in short, is no. Unlike some urban legends that persist, there is no law in New Hampshire specifically prohibiting driving without shoes. However, just because it’s legal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the safest practice. This article will delve into the legalities of barefoot driving in New Hampshire, explore the potential safety hazards involved, and offer recommendations for a safe and comfortable driving experience.

Laws and Regulations in New Hampshire

New Hampshire, known for its motto “Live Free or Die,” reflects this spirit in its approach to driving regulations. Unlike some states with more prescriptive traffic laws, the Granite State takes a more relaxed stance. There are currently no laws on the books in New Hampshire that mandate footwear while operating a motor vehicle.

This doesn’t mean you can drive shoeless with complete impunity, however. New Hampshire law enforcement officers have the authority to cite drivers for reckless driving. If an officer observes a driver’s bare feet to be impeding their ability to safely control the vehicle, they could potentially issue a citation for reckless operation.

While there are no specific statistics on the number of citations issued for barefoot driving in New Hampshire, it’s important to remember that safety should always be the top priority.

Safety Concerns of Barefoot Driving

There are several reasons why opting to go shoeless behind the wheel might not be the best decision. Here’s a closer look at some of the potential safety risks associated with barefoot driving:

  • Reduced Feel and Control: Shoes provide a layer of protection and a better sense of feel on the pedals. This allows for more precise control over braking, acceleration, and clutch operation (for manual transmissions). Bare feet may not offer the same level of sensitivity and could lead to delayed or imprecise maneuvers, especially in critical situations.
  • Risk of Slipping Off Pedals: Wet or sweaty feet can easily slip off the pedals, particularly on smooth surfaces. This can lead to a loss of control and potentially cause an accident.
  • Potential for Dropped Objects: Taking off your shoes while driving increases the chance of accidentally dropping something on the floor that could roll under the pedals and become a distraction.
  • Distracted Driving: The sensation of driving barefoot can be unfamiliar or uncomfortable for some drivers, leading them to fiddle with their feet or try to reposition themselves, taking their focus away from the road.

Recommendations for Safe Driving

While New Hampshire law doesn’t require footwear, prioritizing safety is paramount. Here are some recommendations to ensure a smooth and secure driving experience:

  • Proper Footwear with Good Grip: Opt for closed-toe shoes with good tread. This provides optimal traction on the pedals and protects your feet in case of an accident.
  • Keeping Car Interior Clean and Organized: A cluttered car interior can increase the risk of objects getting lodged under the pedals. Maintain a clean and organized car to minimize distractions and potential hazards.
  • Practicing Good Posture and Pedal Control: Maintain good posture while driving to ensure proper leverage on the pedals. Practice smooth and controlled movements when applying pressure to the brake, gas, and clutch (if applicable).


While there’s no law against it in New Hampshire, driving barefoot isn’t the wisest choice. The potential safety hazards associated with reduced feel, slipping pedals, and distracted driving can be significant. For a safe and comfortable driving experience, prioritize proper footwear, maintain a clean car interior, and practice good posture and pedal control. Remember, the open road awaits, but let’s make sure we navigate it with both safety and comfort in mind.

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MBS Staff
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