Flip Flops Driving Spain

Is It Legal to Drive in Spain Wearing Flip Flops?

Spain – summertime, the heat, the beach – often driving wearing flip flops or similar or even barefoot, might seem the easiest or most convenient option.

As summer approaches, the recurring question arises.  Is driving wearing flip flops or ‘chanclas‘ as they are called in Spanish, against the law? And what actually is and isn’t considered legal footwear for driving?

According to research, it is safer to drive in high heels, than it is driving wearing flip flops.  Under Spanish law, the same as in the UK, driving wearing flip flops isn’t illegal, however, ensuring you are able to operate the controls safely is.

Article 17 of the Spains General Traffic Regulations states that “drivers must be in a position to control their vehicles at all times”.

Interpretation of the law therefore rests on the traffic law enforcement authorities themselves, i.e. it’s down to the Guardia Civil Traffic officer carrying out any road side check, to decide whether or not you are shod appropriately for safe operation of the controls, and thus, safe driving of the vehicle.

Summer last year Guardia Civil posted of their X (formerly Twitter) channel:

#SabíasQue no está específicamente prohibido conducir con chanclas, pero puedes ser sancionado por no ser capaz de mantener la libertad de movimientos
Ahora vas y le das a RT para que todos se enteren. 😂
#NoEsPorLaMulta #ViajeSeguro a la #playa en #Vacaciones2023🌅

This translates:

#DidYouKnow It is not specifically prohibited to drive with flip flops, but you can be penalized for not being able to maintain freedom of movement
Now you go and hit RT so everyone knows. 😂
#It’sNotForTheMulta #SafeTravel to the #beach on #Vacations2023🌅

Studies in the USA, suggest that flip flops are the most dangerous type of footwear to wear when driving, mainly because they can easily slip.  So although not technically illegal, being barefoot or driving wearing flip flops, could be judged to be unsuitable, and if you are unlucky, you could face a fine of up to €200.

To sum up, this is a matter of safety, and we all know prevention is the best cure, therefore, tempting and convenient as it may be, to avoid risk of a fine, and more importantly an accident, best to don some proper footwear.