Driving around with loose-fitting footwear on, like thongs (or flip-flops for our American friends), is not actually against any Australian road rules we can find.
However, police nation-wide have the power to fine you for not being in proper control of your vehicle if they feel you are driving poorly or erratically, which it would be easy to end up doing if you’re trying to control a car in traffic with flip-flops!
This is a situation where the laws of common sense have to prevail over explicit legislation banning you from doing silly things. Given it is also not illegal to drive barefoot, it is a much smarter idea to kick the Tropical Safety Boots off and remove the risk of them becoming tangled in the footwell or caught-up under the pedals.
Many driving instructors also recommend driving in properly fastened shoes, or bare feet, to reduce the risk of losing control of your car from having footwear loose in the footwell. Consider how dangerous it would be to have to try and find, then remove, a loose item while also travelling at speed and in traffic!
The wise move is to hop into the car, remove the thongs and place them either in the passenger footwell, or behind your passenger’s seat on the floor, where there is no risk of them sliding around and becoming snared behind the pedals or providing a distraction.
While it isn’t illegal, we cannot also find reference to driving in certain footwear being excluded by insurance policies, although most Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) have a provision where cover is denied if you knowingly engage in a dangerous act or drive in a negligent manner.
Though we have never heard of a claim being denied due to wearing a particular type of footwear, there is no way of knowing every scenario behind every potential crash, so we highly recommend checking the PDS from your insurer for the full list of exclusions that apply to the product you have purchased.
Because it isn’t strictly illegal to drive in thongs there is no legislation we can quote, which makes it an easy myth to continue.
It's worth checking out this blog from a legal services provider, based in Sydney and operating nationally.
This article is not intended as legal advice. You should check with your local road authority to verify the information written here is suitable to your situation before driving in this manner.