Flip Flop Dangers: Driving, Injuries, and Falls – yikes!

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SONY DSCFlip flops.

Just the image invokes happy thoughts of summer days, sandy beaches, and a carefree lifestyle.  I love how easily I can slip them on and off, which is rather handy for the RV lifestyle.  Especially while road tripping; it’s so convenient (as the RV co-captain) to keep a pair down in the stepwell so I can quickly jump in and out during our frequent stops.  Trouble is, flip flops are also indubitably…well, floppy, which leads to all sorts of problems.

Flip Flop Driving Dangers

Just ask Carl Post, of Laguna Beach about this one.  He was pulling out of Whole Foods parking lot when his flip flop wedged behind the brake pedal and twisted.  As he tried to dislodge the flip flop, it applied full-throttle pressure to the gas pedal, shooting his car across Ocean Avenue and into a parked car.  Carl’s airbags deployed and he was jammed into his seat.  As paramedics assisted him, Carl was haunted by what could have happened if his car had struck a sidewalk full of pedestrians rather than a parked car.  All from something as harmless as a flip flop.

This is more common than you realize.  Flip flops easily slip off our feet making it a huge hazard while driving.  Those of us driving our houses down the road know how hard it is to make quick reactions behind the wheel…YOU CAN’T!  RV’s don’t stop on a dime and can’t veer quickly.  We have a huge responsibility as we sit behind the gigantic steering wheel of our 10 ton hunks of metal.  The potential for danger is not worth the ease and comfort flip flops provide.  Make sure your driving footwear is snug enough that it can’t slip off and interfere with the pedals.

Flip Flop Injuries

To keep flip flops on our feet, we need to scrunch our toes to grip the thong.  This is exactly opposite of what our toes should be doing at that phase in the gait cycle.  This leads to a whole chain of events; our stride shortens, our leg and hip muscles have to work harder and other muscles shut down.  We change our gait when we walk in flip flops, and that can lead to chronic inflammation and pain in the feet, hips, and low back.  Sherri Greene, DPM, a podiatrist in New York City, advises wearing flip-flops for no more than a few hours at a time.  When more active, switch to shoes with more support.  Never wear flip flops while exercising.

Flip Flop Falls

The floppiness of flip flops increases our risk for ending up with our face (and our pride) down in the mud where our feet just were a second ago.  As RVers, we spend a lot of time walking on unfamiliar ground at our latest campsites, unaware that there might be a little dip in the grass next to the picnic table, or a sewer connection hidden in the grass.  Flip flops tend to get caught on things as a closed shoe can’t, and our risk for falling increases in unfamiliar surroundings.  Especially when on hills or other uneven surfaces, leave the flip flops back at the RV and choose something more fitted instead.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m not an anti-flop activist!  I always bring a pair on our RV trips, and like I said, they’re my footwear of choice while RV co-piloting.  Still, I only use them when not active and/or on flat surfaces for short periods of time.  Take care of your feet, RV friends!  They’re the only pair you get.

See you on the road!

After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

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