Irrational Driving Related Fears.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I was 19 before I finally got the nerve to get my driver’s license. I was a whole bundle of paranoia, all terrified of the responsibility and so I held out for just about as long as humanly possible. But, just because I finally got my license, doesn’t mean I still wasn’t a little bit of a crazy person when it came to driving.

CONFESSION: For my first FIVE YEARS as a driver, I had to take my shoes off each and every time I got behind the wheel.

True story.

I’d say it was because it was easier for me to feel the power of the car with my bare foot, but really, I’m a loon.

If it was winter and I was wearing boots and you were my passenger, you’d have to wait for me to take my boots off before I’d turn the car on and then, when we reached our destination, you’d have to wait for me to put my shoes back on.

I started to plan my footwear around whether or not I would be driving that day, aiming for flats or flip-flops if I would be and reserving my more difficult to remove footwear for not driving days.

It was silly, to be sure.

And then I joined the military and maybe you’d think that would have ended it, but it didn’t. When I’d drive in for my weekend duty, I’d do so with one boot on, one boot off. The soles on those things! So thick! I couldn’t feel the gas pedal.

When I met Andrew and when we’d head off post for lunch, I’d let him drive my car just because I didn’t want him to know about my ridiculous no driving in shoes policy.

But then I got deployed. And in a deployment situation, even if it’s just to Kosovo, you don’t get to take your boots on and off when you get behind a wheel. So, with terror in my heart, I got over it. I worked it out. I sucked it up, and drove on. Literally. I was a wreck at first. It didn’t matter that I’d been driving for years, it was like learning to drive all over again.

Now that I know how to drive with shoes on my feet, each and every time I get behind the wheel and drive with shoes on it feels like a major accomplishment.

It’s the little things, really.

Do you have any driving quirks?

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota.

18 thoughts on “Irrational Driving Related Fears.

  1. Ash

    I’m quite sure a good bit of the driving without shoes was *my* fault. Although, I do drive in boots. But not my Merrel sheepskin lined clogs, or Teva flipflops, or Earth sandals. Those *could* conceivably slip off while driving.
    Thank goodness we had Brian here to serve as your official driving instructor. I well remember the story of the first time he got you on I-66. In fact, he & I still occasionally talk about that. 😉
    Thanks for the smiles & chuckles!

  2. TJ

    I love stories like this. I’m not sure that I have any driving quirks, but I certainly do have my quirks in general. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    1. Is that true? Everyone always says that driving barefoot is illegal but no has ever shown me any proof! And I don’t understand why it would be illegal either.

          1. TJ

            This surprises me that there is an actual law. I wonder if it is a state law.

            I’ve always been told that you should definitely take flip flops off when you are driving. I only drive bare foot when I go to the beach – but a lot of people around here wear flip flops rather than shoes. I feel like I have more control of the pedals with bare feet vs flip flops…

            1. I’m with you on the flip-flops, which I tend to wear from April-October. You just can’t drive in them, at least I don’t feel like I can safely. I do think it might be a state-by-state thing as I’d think coastal states would be more forgiving than non-coastal states. Also, I still don’t understand why it’s dangerous or illegal.

              1. Ash

                I looked it up:


                ” In no US states is it illegal to drive barefoot. This is verified by American Automobile Association,, & also
                This question was also on several of those myth-busting shows. Once again it has been verified. It is actually recommended to drive barefoot if you are wearing flip flops, backless shoes, high heels, or any shoes that your foot can slip out of our impair your driving. “

  3. Germana

    Hehe, how fun! I’ve never driven without shoes on, I’ll have to try it some time. I’m loaded with quirks, but I don’t think any of them are driving related. #womp #womp Though, for years after getting my license, I wouldn’t drive on the highway. I had to get over that one quickly, it interfered with shopping excursions!

    1. I have absolutely had friends who wouldn’t drive on the highway and would instead take the longest route possible to get somewhere. It’s terrifying, especially in the DC area, but it’s necessary if you want to get anywhere good.

  4. fact: I didn’t get my license until I was 20.
    second fact: I still drive barefoot!

    I can’t get over it. I’ve tried driving with shoes and it’s so freaking weird I can’t do it. Also, parking. So not my thing. Gah. Basically if I could never drive again that would be magical.

  5. Ash

    T., we are getting a new heat pump this morning, so on far too little sleep I had to back the XTerra all the way around the circle & up the driveway & onto the road. I didn’t hit anything. But there were several rocks run over, several pull forwards & try agains. Granted, the driveway is deeply rutted & near vertical, but you’d think by my age, i’d be at least a *little* bit better at this. Backing that beast up makes me crazy!

  6. Oh Terra that’s hilarious!
    After my 1st accident on the highway, in the rain – I wouldn’t drive on a highway in the rain for years. Seriously, would take the long way for everything. It was so traumatizing.

    I also don’t look at the passenger when I’m driving and talking. It drives me crazy to see people take their eyes off the road. I think I’ve just turned into a real safety nut.

  7. I love the ” but really I’m just a loon”. I love learning new quirky things about you because each time – they make me love you more. J used to take his shoes off whenever he wore flip flops while driving. At least you’re not alone! I’m the opposite, I don’t like the feel of the bare pedal. I feel like I have LESS control!

  8. here’s the deal, what the FUCK is up with the pigeons?! I love driving. I consider myself a very good driver. Not at all timid behind the wheel. Whenever we go on road trips I offer to do pretty much all of the driving. But then…then there are the pigeons and all of my “I’m an awesome driver” everything goes out the window. Because, the second I see a pigeon in the road I know it is going to scuttle to get out of my way using it’s little legs as quickly as it can and freaking me the fuck out the entire time because WHY DON’T THEY JUST FLY? I have come so close to hitting so many birds and even swerving slightly to avoid them because they’re too busy running out of my way. WHEN. THEY. CAN. FLY. I’ll never understand. Pigeons. My driving fear.

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