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left foot braking

Anything wrong with routinely using left foot to brake? (Any model with automatic transmission, ignore Make/Model selection)


  • edited March 2010
    Nothing wrong with left foot braking; I've been doing it since 1965 (on automatic cars), and feel I have better control of the car. If cars were originally designed with automatic, everyone would be braking with their left foot.

    There is an extensive thread on this already; it has many sceptics saying left foot braking is dangerous. Read it for interest.
  • edited March 2010
    We've had long debates on this issue. Many agree with Doc. Many, myself included, feel it's safer to use only one foot. This I believe programss your brain to not press both pedals at once in an emergency.

    The only consensus we ever reached on this was that there are two opposing opinions and neither will every change the other's mind. And that only proves that intelligent, educated people who share similar innate abilities can look at the same data and form diametrically opposed conclusions. That's the beauty of life.
  • edited March 2010
    For about my first 20 years of driving the only thing I ever drove were manuals. In my case I think that left foot braking would be dangerous largely b/c my left foot would be too spastic to control the brake well - its good with a clutch though.

    In general, though I am in the camp would say that when the brake is required there should be nothing hovering around the accelerator pedal - like another foot.
  • edited March 2010
    If you're driving stick, then you need the left foot for the clutch, so it won't be free for the brake. Left foot braking is a habit that translates poorly to manual transmission. If you only ever drive an auto, it does not matter. Since you're going to stall out a lot or possibly not even get out of the driveway if you don't unlearn this habit when driving stick, it is a problem that will correct itself if you do switch to manual.

    The only other problem is that some people have a tendency to drive with their foot on the brake pedal all the time. If you do this, even if you can't feel it, you are probably wearing out your brakes AND reducing your fuel economy, and you're probably reducing the effectiveness of your brakes when you actually stop.

    If neither of these apply to you, it is not a problem.
  • edited March 2010
    I've owned and driven lots of cars both auto and manual trans. I think it is bad technique to use the left foot to brake. My main reason is that in a panic situation it is possible the driver would plant both feet on the floor and that means full gas and full brake. In most panic situations I've survived I needed full brakes, not full gas at the same time.

    I have practiced left footed braking just in case I've got a bum right foot or ankle. I can do it but prefer right foot for gas and brake. I always teach new drivers to use only the right foot regardless of whether it is a manual or auto trans.
  • edited March 2010
    Are we talking about staying on the throttle while trail braking to induce a mild oversteer? Or are we talking about spooling up the turbo while braking for a corner? Left foot braking is a valid racing technique.
  • edited March 2010
    On a previous thread, many argued that left foot braking was dangerous. I guess if you were a little retarded you might press the gas and brake at thesame time, but I have driven over fifty years with my left foot for the brake and haven't had a problem. I believe it is SAFER and easier. It is very simple, right foot to go and left foot to "woah".
  • edited March 2010
    Agree with the proper use...I was encouraged to use it driving police cruisers and military abbulances. Left foot braking is most effective and safer backing up with trailers for me with greater control. Tractors with hand throttles all use this technique for safety. Hydostatic transmissions use the concept on one pedal. IMO, when EVs are the norm, heavy braking aid just releasing the pedal with recharging will make driving safer. It gets my vote inspite of it's potential problems and I encourage everyone to give it a try,,.I would feel safer knowing that other people uses it regulary when driving through traffic.
  • edited April 2010
    Although fine in theory ( there may be a time and circumstance for it, like when my old carbureted truck just won't idle on its own. ), you'll find the highest percentage of people don't know what the 'right' way is.

    They brake far too soon - when all they need to do is let off the accelerator.
    They have the brake still on a tad far too long, with brake lights blazing as they accelerate from a stop.

    Those people are my paycheck and the same ones who complain about their ( lack of ) brake longevity, rotor warp, bulb life, and fuel mileage.
  • edited March 2010
    I decided to try it today. My left foot couldn't even find the pedal - granted that this pedal design was done on the assumption of right foot only - it is small (never noticed before) and not terribly accessible to the left foot. Furthermore, given my steering wheel and seat position trying to use my left foot has the top of my thigh brushing if not bumping the steering wheel. I just think that the whole idea is loopy.

    But I went 20 years doing nothing but a clutch and had no left foot for the brake. So I suppose right foot is just natural to me. Asking my left to do it feels sort of like eating with the wrong hand.
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