Dear Car Talk column about putting a car in neutral at stoplight

This is a question about your “I don’t see a problem” answer to the guy in Florida who likes to put his transmission in neutral in stopped traffic and at red lights so he can take his foot off the brake. I see a BIG PROBLEM…especially if he is rear-ended.

Imagine him being “bumped from behind”…and the consequences of him being “bumped” into the car in front of him…or even “bumped” into cross traffic…where a school bus driver swerves to avoid hitting him and one thing leads to another and the result makes the National News because dozens of kids are killed/injured…all because, for some idiotic reasoning, he likes NOT having to hold the brake pedal down. He did have 2001 Mazda 626. Maybe he has issues with his brake pedal slowly going to the floor while stopped…and he is TOO LAZY to get his brakes checked/fixed?

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You make a good point. But folks with manual transmissions put the car in neutral at stop lights routinely. I don’t see traffic experts complaining much about that. Whatever problem it would cause for automatic drivers must be offset by the safety factor of the car not accidentally moving forward if the driver’s foot comes off the brake pedal. In fact it would seem much more likely the latter would cause the car to jerk forward unexpectedly than from being bumped from behind.

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When I drove a manual transmission, I always kept my right foot on the brake with I was in neutral, even on flat roads.

I do exactly the same with M/T. I consider brake lights on the most effective way to prevent being “bumped” from behind.

I agree with the OP-to put an automatic in neutral so that they can take their foot off the brakes is NUTS

lol … Ok, I admit it. I usually shift my automatic truck from D to N at stoplights, especially if it appears to be a long cycle. I press on the brake pedal until the light changes to green, to avoid rolling. On my truck anyway, it’s an easier effort to prevent the truck from moving forward in N than in D.

Just found this gem on MSN homepage.

Put less strain on your engine and automatic transmission by shifting to neutral at red lights. Otherwise, the engine is still working to push the car even while it’s stopped.

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Better yet, turn it off, otherwise the engine is still working to push the pistons even while it’s stopped. :confused:

Most of those ideas were ok, but lots of the photos were wrong. Several were pics of washer fluid, while the advice was about the coolant.

How about putting it in reverse to remove the wear that has been caused by keeping it in drive?

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