Home Automotive AdviceMotoring Laws and Legal Advice Driving Naked – Is It Illegal To Have Your Birthday Suit On?

Driving Naked – Is It Illegal To Have Your Birthday Suit On?

by Jordan Harris
Driving Naked

The world is a peculiar place and one that’s gotten odder since the invention of trending social media challenges. You know… All those silly (and irresponsibly dangerous) “I bet you won’t do it” challenges where you’d get out of a moving car and start dancing or whatever before hopping back in. These are the sort of viral content that could get people killed. But how about driving naked, down to the skin?

Just promise me this; you won’t scroll too far down after Googling “driving naked”. Believe me, you’ll start finding a lot of, uhm, not-safe-for-work content in this query. Nevertheless, it is undoubtedly an interesting question to pose. Would driving around butt-naked be completely okay? While you might come across this on the web, it’s among the more “harmless” things you can do behind the wheel.

It’s not as though someone would get killed seeing your entire birthday suit on display at the wheel of your car. Besides, there are valid questions as to why you’d consider driving naked. Maybe you’re at the beach? On the flip side, there’s also the morality about being completely on show while on the move. Is it indecent, or would anyone even care? Let’s dive deep into the rabbit hole of driving naked…

What Does The Law Have To Say About You Driving Naked?

Technically speaking, driving naked can be both legal and illegal, depending on where you are. Note that in matters concerning public nudity, all 50 states have their own laws that guide you on that. In some states, you may be liable to be pulled over by the police. Meanwhile, other states don’t give a bother whether or not you’re completely stripped down to bare flesh and driving around naked.

The same conundrum is shared outside of the United States, as well. In some countries, such as Japan or Singapore, public nudity is illegal. Other countries, meanwhile, may be more lenient. Therefore, it’s wise that you revise the local laws before thinking about skinning dipping in your car – driving naked is considered under ‘public nudity’. That is, unless, you’re driving around on a private plot of land.

Driving Naked

Granted, some states may file driving naked under ‘public indecency’. Here’s where it gets confusing, as driving while just being nude isn’t necessarily the issue. It’s what you do WHILE being naked that’s concerning lawmakers. Take, for instance, most states’ public indecency laws, and what’s considered illegal. Note that ‘public’ is considered as places where you could be viewed by others:

  • Sexual conduct (i.e. intercourse) that involves penetration
  • A lewd exposure of the body with the intent of arousal or satisfying one’s sexual desires

In other words, if you’re behind the wheel and are “performing” acts on yourself or someone else that tends toward intercourse of self-pleasure, then it’s illegal. Bear in mind, nonetheless, that such a law isn’t pursued in every state (more on that later). You can then surmise that just being naked, with not a single sexual intent whatsoever, may be legal, right? Well, not entirely, as we’ve uncovered.

How Can You Drive Around While Naked Be Illegal?

In most states, there is no law strictly prohibiting public nudity – without any sexual deeds tied to it – in of itself. We can conclude that general nudism isn’t considered a crime. Moreover, you can ask any DMV, and there are no clauses demanding that you put clothes on while driving. There is, however, a very big BUT attached to this argument. Some states call this the ‘disorderly conduct’ law.

In layman’s terms, if what you’re doing causes offense to someone else in a public space, then you’re technically in the wrong. These can include acts or behavior that alarms or disturbs others that can cause raised eyebrows. Driving around while naked will be placed under that jurisdiction. Take our scenario here as one example:

You’re driving around naked, behind the wheel, without a care in the world. Then, another car passes by you and sees you (perhaps with your compatriots) without any clothing. Or, perhaps you quietly pass a town, as onlookers and passers-by see your birthday suit. If those around you are “alarmed” or “disturbed” by you driving around naked, then the state can charge you legally for this.

It won’t be possible for you to control what others think of nudism. Some might not care, while others may call the cops on you even if you’re showing just a tiny bit of flesh. Here, this is where the subject of driving around naked gets trickier. At the end of the day, you show your skin behind the wheel will be judged by the folks around you. If they don’t mind, then you’re safe. Otherwise, get a lawyer.

But Why Would You Want To Drive Around Naked?

If you’re asking us, then here’s our TL;DR advice – DON’T drive around naked unless you’re willing to do it quietly in an empty stretch of road. If no one’s there to see you drive naked, then who’s to say that you were, or weren’t in the nude. The question of legality only comes to mind when you have a witness or two. Or, maybe wait until you’re in a place that’s nudist-friendly to take your clothes off.

That might lead you to one question… Why is this such a hot topic, anyway? How is it that so many people are wondering whether they can, or can’t, drive around while in the nude? Surprisingly, the ones who’ve done this – or are actively practicing driving while nude – have some strong justification for this. Here are a few of the most popular ones…

1. Nudism/Naturalism

The most common one is the right of nudism or naturalism. I don’t want to get into depth with it, but it’s essentially the right for a person to consciously choose against wearing any clothes. Remember that scene from Zootopia, where being nude somehow puts you closer to nature in a spiritual way? Yeah, it’s something like that, but being behind the wheel.

2. Getting A Tan

For those living in sunny areas, this is another typical argument. Imagine if your car has a sunroof or a full panoramic glass roof. It’s rather tempting – I guess(!?) – to get a full-body tan. Especially with a blacked-out car, it’s practically a tanning bed with wheels. I suppose, why wait until you get to the beach for your tan when you can start warming up your tan on the long drive there?

3. Toasty Cabin

I recall an old episode of Top Gear, where James May opted to pick a homologated race car without any air conditioning for a lengthy road trip. While it may be a TV skit, he went nude in one scene, as the Mediterranean sun clearly got the better of him. If your car’s A/C isn’t working or for when it gets uncomfortably hot… Then going nude is one interesting way to cool down.

What Are The Different States Of Nudity, And Their Legality?

In summary, if no one sees you driving around naked, then it’s not a crime. Once someone lodges a complaint, however, then the police have the right to pull you over and question you. As to what may happen after that, will be depending on the situation. It may be the leniency of the local state laws or their enforcement, or how kind the police may be to you. This isn’t entirely a black-or-white scenario.

You could be driving past town after town, without thousands around you that could’ve spotted you driving while nude. Or, maybe they did see you but aren’t terribly concerned. In that case, the state will leave you alone. Although, there’s the question of partial nudity. Folks might see that you’re not wearing a shirt, but at least you still have your pants on. Would that fall under the same laws?

Would a flash of nipple bother others, even if your genitalia are perfectly covered up? Here are a couple of different states of partial nudity while behind the wheel, and how the law interprets them:

1. Driving Around With Bare Feet – Perfectly Legal (But It’s Not Safe)

Barefoot isn’t considered nudity, but you are missing a key article of clothing that almost everyone is adorned with while driving… Shoes. There are those that say driving while barefoot is illegal, or that it may get you into a lot of trouble. We’re here to say that this is false. In fact, driving barefoot isn’t prescribed as illegal in any one of the 50 states. Some types of footwear get worse flak than feet.

In several states, authorities advise against driving with slippery shoes, flip flops, (very) high heels, or thick boots. That’s since these types of shoes may make it harder to press or depress the pedals with a degree of accuracy and preciseness when you need to. DMVs would happily add these types of footwear into the “do not wear while driving” list. But barefoot… That’s perfectly okay (for more insight, check out our guide on is it illegal to drive barefoot and is it illegal to drive without shoes).

However, that doesn’t mean managing the pedals with your feet is safe or recommended. I’ve done this personally, as my sandals once broke apart while I was on the road, and didn’t have any spares. So, I did the one thing I could think of – drive around with my bare feet until I make it home. Thus, I can tell you with personal experience that it wasn’t a pleasant journey.

For one thing, it’s uncomfortable. Secondly, with the softness at the bottom of your feet – compared to a hard sole of a typical shoe or footwear – it can take more time before the pedals are thoroughly pressed. It feels spongy and unresponsive, which is especially concerning while you’re using the brake pedals. If you get into an accident, the police may consider barefoot as reckless driving.

2. Driving Around While Topless – Illegal In 3 States (And A Grey Area)

Going back to our point up above, what if you still keep your pants on. From what we know so far, it’s perfectly legal for men to remove their upper garments in public across all 50 states. Hence, why it’s a common appearance to see topless dudes walking around, especially on a hot day. With that being said, women consider this discriminatory, as they don’t have the same rights under the law.

Some states have responded by saying that wherever a man can walk around publicly without a shirt on, women can do that, too. In defiance, however, the states of Utah, Indiana, and Tennessee are the only 3 states that consider it to be illegal for women to be topless in public. In summary, the other 47 states don’t directly prohibit toplessness, while driving or otherwise.

Alas, it gets ever more intricate once you look closely:

  • While some state governments say it’s okay to be topless in public, city-wide governments might not always agree. They may put in place laws that prevent you from being topless – or display any case of nudity, partial or not – while in public areas. That’s so long as you remain within the city’s limits.
  • In some places, you can leave your house while being topless, and that’s fine. But… You can’t actively take off your upper garments in public spaces. The latter may be punishable as an offense.
  • On top of that, there are 13 states that neither expressly prohibit nor allow public toplessness. In this regard, it’s a grey area, whose enforcement and punishment may be arbitrary given the situation.

If You’re Caught Driving Naked, You Should Stay In The Car While You Can

Speaking of puzzling, here’s another thing that you have to worry about if you’ve been caught driving naked. Let’s say the police received a complaint from a distressed passer-by that saw your junk and pulled you over. Apparently, and in some places, they can’t charge you for public nudity or indecency if you’re still staying put in the car. Again, this is highly dependent on where you are.

But, if you happen to step out of the car sans clothing and onto the pavement, the police have every right to charge you for causing offense. It seems as though in this situation, driving naked isn’t such a big no-no as long as you remain inside the car. Should you step outside while still in the nude, then it can cause a lot of trouble for you as far as violating public indecency laws is concerned.

Regardless of whether this odd scenario may or may not come true where you’re driving to, we’d still recommend that you keep some clothing handy. When the police do catch you and pull you over, you can at least try to put on some clothes before greeting them and stepping out of your car. This will at least prevent you from getting caught – literally – with your pants down.

In short, you can sort of treat – but don’t fully pin your hopes on – your car as a safe zone. If you’ve been caught nude inside of it, then you may get away with only a warning, citation, or a small fine. Legally, you have more protection this way. But step outside of your car while still in the nude, then that’s considered breaking the law. So, do at least keep a pair of briefs in the glovebox.

But Can You Be Caught Driving Naked In A Motorhome?

The case against you is significantly less validated if you were caught nude inside a motorhome. Or as some might call it, an RV, or a campervan. These houses on wheels aren’t just vehicles, remember, as some folks live in them 24/7. So, what happens if someone sees the extent of your skin while driving or is being driven in a motorhome. For the most part, you’ll be left alone.

So far as the law can see it, you’re being naked inside your own house. The fact that it’s a house built atop an engine and four wheels doesn’t concern them. It can be considered as you being naked in the privacy of your own home. Therefore, you can rest assured that even if the police do pull you over, the worst you can get is advice to be a tad more subtle the next time you’re getting nude in an RV.

Driving Naked

This same argument goes for if you’re nude behind the wheel, but are on private property. This is a bit of a grey area as well, but the law tends to stay more on your side. In some places, even if the nudity in question can be visible by others outside of private grounds, you could still get away with it. This is one occasion, however, that you can be freer with your nudist self than on fully public areas.

Are There Any Other On-The-Road Misconceptions Besides Driving Naked?

Suffice it to say, but discussing the prospect of driving naked is opening a very large can of worms, as it has no fewer twists and turns that come with it. It’s mostly legal, sort of, and only in some places or situations. Under differing circumstances, or a case of being caught in the wrong place and at the wrong time, you can face a prison sentence. At the very least, you’ll get a fine and a stern warning.

But little did we know, there are many other such habits while driving that can fall into the same complicated rabbit hole of the law. It then leads us to ask, are there any other activities that you may habitually do that might be seen as illegal, but in fact, turns out to be perfectly okay?

  • Riding On A Pickup Truck Bed – While it may seem illegal, this is perfectly legal to do. Some states do enforce restrictions, like needing an enclosed bed or how you can only carry around workers. Nevertheless, it’s terribly dangerous and puts your rear-most passengers at risk of serious injury or death if you get into an accident.

  • Flashing Your Headlights As A Warning – Randomly flashing your headlights to grief other drivers is illegal. But doing so to warn them of an oncoming speed camera, police roadblock, or checkpoint, is also legal. The Supreme Court ruled that it’s within your First Amendment right to warn other drivers.
  • Using A Radar Detector – It’s illegal if you’re in Virginia or the District of Columbia. Oh, and it’s also a big no-no if you’re driving a commercial vehicle while on the job. For the most part, you can consider them to be legal to use, but don’t try to make it too obvious.

Facts about Driving Naked and Topless

  • There are no laws regarding what clothes you must wear while driving, but there are laws regarding public nudity.
  • Your car becomes a public space when you pull it out of your garage and onto the highway.
  • Every state has laws prohibiting individuals from harassing or disturbing others by exposing themselves.
  • There are no federal laws that require men or women to wear a shirt while driving, and many states allow women to go topless in any public space where men can go shirtless.
  • The only states that prohibit women from going topless in public are Indiana, Tennessee, and Utah, while 13 states are ambiguous regarding laws around going topless.
  • Many cities have local bans regarding toplessness, which may even contradict state laws.
  • Pros of driving naked include protecting your seats and cooling down faster, but cons include the risk of injury and needing to go straight home or to a destination that allows nudity.
  • If the police pull you over while driving naked, you’ll likely get a ticket for indecent exposure or public lewdness, and depending on the severity of the charge, it could range from a simple misdemeanor to a felony.
  • Obscenity laws typically refer to public acts with the design to shock, offend, or arouse others, and depending on the severity of the crime, obscenity can range from a simple misdemeanor to a felony.
  • While there are no specific clothing rules for changing a car tire, it’s best to be fully clothed, and the decision to drive naked is up to the driver, but they are also responsible for the consequences.

Final Thoughts On Driving Naked…

I think this is a good place to round up our look at what happens when you’re driving naked. If you’ve made it this far, then here’s a quick summary… Yes, it’s technically legal to drive around naked in a lot of places. It’s surprisingly passable in much of the US. Especially if you don’t get caught in the act, no one’s there to complain and rat you out to the cops. Stay under the radar, and you’re good to go.

But is it worth the trouble, now that’s another issue. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you can be sure that no one will spot you. If you’re driving around on a remote desert road where there are few people around, then sure, go ahead. But if you’re passing by busy interstate highways or towns, then put some clothes on. Driving naked isn’t a good idea, made worse by the patchy laws around it.

Sometimes, you may be okay if you don’t step out of the car. Elsewhere, it’s not okay, full stop. As a whole, it’s a tricky subject, and what punishment you get if you’re caught varies wildly. Did your nude body disturb the tranquillity of people around you? Might what you’ve done be considered indecent or rude? Even for the sake of a good tan, driving naked just doesn’t seem worth the hassle.

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