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Your Beautiful Winter Boots Could Put You At Risk Of A Car Accident

Whether it’s an ankle boot, biker boot, knee-high riding boot, combat-style lace up or the must-have wedge - putting your best foot forward this winter could impair your driving capability.

Based on studies done overseas, 1st for Women Insurance Brokers advises ladies that wearing restrictive, obstructive or improper footwear could cause them to have an accident.

“Wearing tight or high-fitting boots that restrict leg movement or boots with thick soles or high heels can affect your driving ability. Without complete freedom of movement, your reaction time to brake or accelerate could be slowed. Similarly, obstructive soles and heels could result in you stepping on the accelerator and brake at the same time, or the push the wrong pedal entirely. Essentially, your ability to maintain control of your vehicle is compromised,” says 1st for Women’s managing director, Robyn Farrell.

According to Farrell, one of the largest car insurance companies in the United Kingdom conducted a survey of 1 200 woman which showed that about 15% had lost control of their cars due to wearing boots with thick soles. The UK insurer also warned against heavily-padded jackets, which could hamper movement while driving, as well as hand gloves, which could cause a driver to lose traction on the steering wheel.

“We conducted a mini-survey to gauge how South African women feel about driving in boots and high heels and the majority thinks it’s a breeze!  One woman did admit to losing control of her car due to her inappropriate footwear and some said that they usually swop their fashionable footwear for flats when driving,” says Farrell.

It’s not only boots with thick soles that female drivers need to be wary of. Another study done this year by Brake, a UK-based road safety charity, revealed that high heels are the cause of many car accidents involving women drivers. The study showed that more than 11.5 million women in the UK wear inappropriate shoes when they drive. Some UK insurers have gone as far as to refuse compensation to those who have had car accidents while wearing inappropriate footwear.

Farrell says that you shouldn’t drive wearing your winter boots if:

  • The soles are more than seven centimeters thick.
  • The soles are too wide that you risk applying pressure to more than one pedal at once.
  • They do not have sufficient grip on the soles and slip easily off the pedals.
  • They restrict the movement of your ankles and the muscles in your legs because they are either too high or tight-fitting.
  • They have high heels which hamper your ability to move between or apply pressure to pedals. 

Farrell concludes: “We all love our winter boots but be honest with yourself, if they hamper your ability to operate and control your car properly, don’t wear them when you drive. Instead, keep a pair of less bulky shoes in your car for when you’re driving and simply swap them for your boots when you arrive at your destination. It only takes a minute or two.”

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