Spend enough time down under and you’ll hear someone tell you it’s illegal to drive in thongs in Australia. By thongs we don’t mean the women’s underwear – we mean the open-heeled sandals, known as Jandals to New Zealanders, flip flops to North Americans, and Chanclas to South Americans.

But is it illegal to drive in thongs in Australia? And what about each state? Is wearing thongs while driving illegal in all places, some places, or no places? While we’re at it, is it illegal to drive in Jandals in New Zealand?

Read on to find the answers to all these questions, and more to boot (or to flip).

Related: Is it illegal to drive barefoot?

 A foot with a thong stepping on a stone in a river - is it illegal to drive in thongs in Australia - yes, but it's not a great idea

Is it a good idea to drive in thongs?

Not really. Thongs don’t have a lot of grip, and with your foot floating around on top, they don’t give you good traction on the pedals. There’re lots of stories about thongs getting caught under pedals, which can restrict the movement of your feet and cause serious, potentially dangerous accidents.

It’s almost always a better idea to drive barefoot. Without shoes you won’t get anything stuck under the pedals, and you’ll have better control over the car than you would in any non-heeled sandals, including slides. We recommend removing the thongs or sandals and storing them in the passenger foot well while you’re driving.

Two pink thongs on a wooden floor - you may not want to drive in thongs, but it is illegal to drive in thongs in australia

Is it illegal to drive in thongs in New South Wales?

No, it’s not illegal to drive in thongs in NSW. However, you must be in proper control of your vehicle, which is why driving barefoot might be a better option. You could be fined if using inappropriate footwear leads to an accident.

Is it illegal to drive in thongs in Victoria?

No, it’s not illegal to drive in thongs in Victoria. but you could be hit with a traffic offense if Victoria Police think an accident or hazardous driving was caused by inappropriate footwear. Is the effort of taking your thongs off really worth the risk?

Is it illegal to drive in thongs in Queensland?

Nope, it’s not illegal to drive in thongs in Queensland. Interestingly, a recent study by Ford found Queensland teenagers were the most likely to drive in thongs, which is a bit of a concern.

Is it illegal to drive in thongs in South Australia?

No, it’s not illegal to drive in thongs in South Australia. There are no specific rules as to what footwear you’re allowed to wear in SA, but police recommend against it.

Is it illegal to drive in thongs in The Northern Territory?

Nope, it’s not illegal to drive in thongs in the Northern Territory. However, Territorians are unfairly stereotyped as bogans already – do you really want to add to that?

Is it illegal to drive in thongs in Tasmania?

No, it’s not illegal to drive in thongs in Tasmania.

Is it illegal to drive in thongs in Western Australia?

No, it’s not illegal to drive in thongs in WA. If you’re worried about driving safely in Western Australia, Transport WA have a really good PDF with the most important rules.

Is it illegal to drive in thongs in Canberra?

No, it’s not illegal to drive in thongs in Canberra. However, we found at least one reference to thongs in the ACT Road Transport Authority Driving Instructor Code Of Practice. It says “The instructor should have a neat and tidy appearance, including safe and practical clothing and footwear (e.g. no thongs)”. It’s not quite a law – but it’s something to consider.

Two green thongs sitting on a rock on the sand - you don't get much traction in thongs, but is it illegal to drive in thongs

Is it illegal to drive in thongs on a motorbike?

No, it’s not illegal to ride a motorbike or motor scooter in thongs, but it is incredibly stupid. Really, really stupid.

If you fall off on a motorbike, you’ll bite the dust immediately. Riders don’t wear leather and big boots to look cool, they wear them to stop their skin from tearing from their body. If you’re wearing thongs and you come off, you’re set for some serious damage to your feet, which will be no one’s fault but your own.

Don’t dress for the ride – dress for the slide.

Is it illegal to drive in Jandals in New Zealand?

No, it’s not illegal to drive in Jandals in New Zealand, but if you’re deemed to not be in control of your vehicle due to inappropriate footwear, Kiwi coppers can clip you.

Conclusion: is it illegal to drive in thongs in Australia?

No, but you shouldn’t because it’s dangerous, and you can still be booked by police if they feel your footwear is inappropriate or leads to an accident. It’s not illegal to drive barefoot in Australia, and it’s much safer than driving in thongs. Considering how easy it is to take your thongs off when you get in the car, you should always do so!

We write lots of great articles like this one, and we’d love you to read them.

Subscribe with your email below, and we’ll send you our favourite posts from us, and around the web, once a month.