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Is it legal to drive barefoot? We're debunking six common driving myths

Posted at 1:48 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 15:48:36-04

Personal Injury Attorney Craig Swapp from Craig Swapp & Associates joined us to debunk six common driving myths.

First -- do airbags cause more harm than good? Swapp says in one study from of 10 years of airbag use over 8,000 lives were saved by airbags compared to 237 lives that were lost due to airbag related injuries. The bottom line is that airbags have a far greater chance of saving your life than harming you. Swapp says airbags can pose a threat to children, so children should never sit in the front seat until they reach the adequate weight.

Second - is it illegal to drive barefoot? Swapp says contrary to public opinion, it is legal in all 50 states to drive without shoes on. However, he says it isn't safe. According to the NHTSA pedal application errors result in approximately 16,000 vehicle crashes every year. A large number of those are caused by people wearing flip-flops or sandals (sometimes a strap can become caught in one of the foot pedals).

Third - does having a four-wheel drive car make it safer to drive in the snow? Swapp says to a certain extent that's true. Four-wheel drive does help with forward traction from a stop or when going uphill but that`s about it. The reality is that four-wheel drive doesn't aid lateral grip or braking. Snow tires always beat all-wheel drive.

Fourth - do red cars get pulled over more for speeding? Swapp says this is a common myth that gets passed around. He notes that a study in 2014 actually showed that white cars get pulled over more, but not by a significant percentage. It could just be that white is the most popular car color.

Fifth - a long held belief here in Utah is that the police won't pull you over for going 9 mph over the limit. Swapp says while it's true that police officers use their discretion, they absolutely can and may pull you over if you decide to go any amount over the speed limit. In fact in a recent statement Utah Highway Patrol (December 2019) says that the department's head officers have instructed troopers to start pulling drivers over for speeding, no matter how little they are going over the speed limit, even one mile over.

Sixth - many people buy larger vehicles with the assumption that they are inherently safer than smaller cars. Is this myth or fact? Swapp says while there is some truth in the fact that a bigger car suffers less damage in low speed accidents, larger vehicles are heavier and heavier vehicles are harder to control. In instances where a driver loses control of a vehicle due to inclement weather or any other reason, it`s very difficult to get a larger vehicle under control to avoid an accident. Smart car shoppers check the safety ratings and make a decision based on those concrete ratings.

One thing that is certainly not a myth, car accidents happen every day. If you are injured in a car accident Swapp says to get the help you need and then get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney.

At Craig Swapp & Associates their experienced attorneys will fight for your rights. Call them at 1-800-404-9000 or visit: