The owners of two cars had a surprise in store for them when they got back from shopping Monday afternoon: Another car was somehow parked on top of both of them.
The bizarre crash had a bizarre cause as well, Cohasset, Massachusetts, police said in a Facebook post: an errant flip-flop.
Police say a 67-year-old woman was driving her 2016 Honda Pilot when her flip-flop became entangled in the pedals and she lost control of the vehicle.
The car sped out of control and drove up onto two other cars, with each front wheel resting on top of one vehicle. Luckily, nobody was hurt in the crash, police said.
“Several” cars had to be towed for damages, and the woman was cited with negligent operation of a motor vehicle, according to police.
The strange sequence of events struck a chord with some on social media, many of whom said they were impressed by the Honda’s possible future as a monster truck. Others criticized her choice of footwear.
But how dangerous is it to drive with flip-flops on?
There is no law against driving barefoot or in flip-flops, FindLaw reported in 2016, and a cursory search did not turn up any new statutes since then. But the practice has been discouraged because of safety concerns.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles issued a warning in 2012 urging people to wear proper footwear when driving and cited a fatal accident in New York in which a driver reportedly told police his flip-flop fell off when he was driving.
A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also published in 2012, found that “pedal application errors” similar to the one in Massachusetts were responsible for about 15 crashes per month, or 180 per year. The report suggests telling drivers not to wear flip-flops as a way to cut back on crashes.
Some states, such as Alabama, do require motorcycle riders to wear shoes.
“Our employees see it all the time,” Virginia DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb said in a statement. “Our customer service representatives who conduct road tests have seen flip-flops and sandals come off and get stuck under the gas or brake pedal. Fortunately, we have not had any tragic situations, but that is what we are trying to prevent.”
The department also warned against driving with high heels because they could get caught on the mat and interfere with braking. It also warned against driving barefoot because your feet could get sweaty and slip off the pedals.
“Sneakers or low heel flat shoes are encouraged. Consider keeping an extra pair of good driving shoes in your car to wear while operating your vehicle,” the department wrote.