Drive with both feet

I live in a senior community(over 55). About once a month we have a parking lot accident where the driver stomps on the gas instead of the brake. They jump the curb, cross the median and smash into other cars. Similar accidents have been reported in the national media where fatalities occurred.

My solution is to train drivers, especially old ones, to use both feet; left on the brake, right on the accelerator. Few drive a manual transmission these days. I know that there is a potential for riding the brake, but so what if saves accidents.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles would fail a driver with such a technique, and AARP is not allowed to teach it; they need to change this could start a conversation, and Click and Clack could broadcast it.

There is also the potential for the brakes to overheat and fail at speed driving like that, which seems a lot more dangerous than just accidentally jumping a curb here and there. Also if you’re driving around with your foot on the brake, your brake lights will be on all the time, which is also a dangerous situation.

Realistically, if a driver is mixing up the pedals regularly, it might be time to think about not driving any more.

Teach an old dog new tricks? Don’t go there. If a person has a problem with one foot on one pedal what makes you think two feet on two pedals would be an improvement?

However well-intentioned, your “solution” likely would make things worse. There are many reasons the “two feet” approach is not taught, not the least of which is, in a panic situation, people tend to stomp with both feet – brake and gas – which lengthens stopping distances, and overall, increase collision incidents.

I wholeheartedly agree…
Two foot driving with an automatic is the safest way to go in many situations. There are draw backs of course as with any technique, but being able to quickly and efficiently modulate braking and accelerating in congested areas, backing up with a trailer, parking control and anywhere safety is the major concern. It should be taught to everyone as an adjunct to one foot and used separately when needed. BTW, that’s how trac control works; braking/acceleration in unison. The notion that someone may drag the brakes is only a concern when the brake is covered at higher speeds. Some how people think it’s wrong instead of being a potential lifesaver.
If you drive heavy equipment, tow trailers or manage police cruiser quickly through traffic, the advantages become apparent.

Heck, if I were diving a standard, I’d love to have three feet.

I’ve been driving with both feet for the last 40 years or so. When overseas I drove a friend to a meeting and he was horrified so see me do this. In that country most cars are manual shift and all drivers are taught to brake with the right foot. Agree it’s safer and less stressful to drive with both feet.

My Father taught me to drive and the method taught was one foot, it has served me well. Now that dad approaches 80 he is using both feet, I don’t feel safe with him driving. Lots of jerky corner negoiating and parking lot incidents.

I am a left foot breaker and I believe it can be beneficial, but I have been doing it for more than 30 years.
I DO NOT think it would be wise to teach this to seniors. This is no insult to seniors but if they are failing in doing something they have been doing for 50 years then telling them to change, which includes changing thinking patterns and minor/major motor skills (physical not automotive)will only make things worse.

You make a good point. I would expand on it to say, the attempt to teach a worthwhile skill, which I think left foot braking is, to a senior that fails in execution, is a good indicator that the senior is indeed too old to drive. To functionally drive in this society, new tricks learned by old dogs is par for the course. Seniors can’t expect to put their car on a through way from home to destination and have everyone else get out of the way. I’m a near senior myself and must face that day too.

I am sorry, but the only solution to this problem is to let their driver’s licenses expire. If you forget which peddle does what, it is time to stop driving.

One of the great things about senior communities is that they run shuttles to local events and shopping centers, so the tenants don’t have to drive to get around. The senior community where my grandmother lived had a grocery store two miles away and bicycle trails in between.

The folks that cause these collisions should not be driving.

I agree, but this is not limited to senior citizens. Last year, my best friend’s Accord was wrecked by a woman who broadsided us–while we were in a gas station! She had first rear-ended an Escape at a nearby traffic light, continued to drive down Route 1 (in North Brunswick, NJ), mounted the curb, drove across the gas station’s lawn, and broadsided us at a speed of somewhere between 35 & 40 mph. She then continued about 200 ft further down the highway shoulder before she finally stopped her Lexus RX-330.

She told the responding police officers, “The harder I pressed on the brake, the faster it went”! Her car was impounded for a thorough examination by local mechanics, who found nothing wrong with her brakes. The obvious conclusion–just like with most of those “runaway Audis” of years ago, is that she did not know the gas pedal from the brake pedal. And, this woman was ~40 years old. Clearly incompetence and inability to drive properly is not limited to any one age group.

This may not apply, but sometimes I see people who, at the age of 30 or 40, are getting a driver’s license for the first time. Those people scare me too. I don’t know what it is, but they just don’t seem to have the same skills as those who drove at an earlier age, even after years of driving experience.

I strongly disagree with left foot braking. The dead pedal is there for a reason; a driver should brace against it to accurately modulate the pedals. When you brake with your left foot, your legs move forward due to inertia, and you push on the brake and the gas together. I do drive with 2 feet when parking, one on the clutch, the other on the gas. When in doubt, throw the clutch out. It’s that simple.

Technicality aside, I think people, myself included, sometimes have the tendency to panic and keep doing what doesn’t work. Stepping on the wrong pedal at slow parking speed isn’t that big of a problem. But people actually keep doing what doesn’t work and cause damage. This happens to the best of vehicle operators, even airline pilots. Panicking and keep doing what doesn’t work is the problem. Although it is hard to do, but sometime it is better to step away and try something else. Even when time is extremely short when the mistake is made and the accident seems inevitable, it isn’t.

Once, someone ran a stop sign but stop dead right in front of me after realizing that she did wrong and panic. Of course, my natural reaction was to pound on the brake. But even in a situation like that, there was enough time for me to know stopping was physically impossible. So I let go of the brake and steered.

I strongly disagree with left foot braking…no problem there, everybody has their beliefs and convictions.

When you brake with your left foot, your legs move forward due to inertia, and you push on the brake and the gas together…Never happens, I suppose it could but it seems that one would have to be flying low and then suddenly mash the peddle like Fred Flintstone, and seat belts keeps my tush firmly planted. Also the accelerator would not be pressed unless a novice were attempting this. Keep in mind that just because a left foot braker presses the brake pedal that does not mean the accelerator is automatically pressed also.
When you drive and manipulate the pedals it is like a second nature to you, you can do it without thinking, it is intuitive. This is the same thing with left footers who have been doing it for x-amount of years.

I have been left-foot braking on automatics since I started driving in the early 80’s. I normally drive a manual, but I have no problem switching between right foot braking for the manual and left foot braking for the automatics. It all comes down to training and Lots of practice. I don’t drag the brakes - I keep my heel on the floor and hold my foot over the pedal if I think I may need to brake soon. I rest my foot to the side when there’s no need to brake. I get my foot over the pedal in plenty of time in panic stops. It’s just like any physical reflex - done enough times it gets etched in your brain somehow and you do it without thinking. It’s the same with sports, musical instruments, etc.

That said, I doubt if many past their 40’s or even 30’s could be retrained to change feet after several years of doing it another way. For someone in their 60’s or older, forget about it. So I think left-foot braking can be better, and it works for me, but it’s best to start with young drivers. The important thing is to be able to stop when you need to, and quit driving when you can’t.

Sorry, but no way. My FIL, who is approaching 80 drives that way. Just about the worst passenger experience for me. I always volunteer to drive for him when we visit. He’s always jerking to a stop and one day he’ll get rear-ended (he also likes to play w/tailgaiters). Granted a rear-ending is the other person’s fault, but it is always better to avoid an accident.

I can always tell when the vehicle ahead is accelerating and the brake lights come on often and briefly, that is a two footed driver. Following behind one for any length of time is frustrating and irritating. I doubt they realize that even a light touch on the pedal is setting off the brake lights. It’s like crying wolf to the people behind you because they eventually become desensitized to it and may end up ramming into you when you actually do try to stop. Bad habit IMO.

Bad habit IMO…I respect your opinion but with that said I don’t think people realize that left foot brakers do not travel down the road with the brake pedal covered or leave their left foot hovering over the brake pedal. I am sure some do but they do not represent the majority of drivers. I imagine those that do also weave back and forth traveling 20 mph under the limit.

The bad habit part is in reference to the hovering you mentioned. Not everyone is capable of mastering your method. In fact, it probably takes more coordination to double foot and it’s something I’ve never been comfortable doing since I’ve always owned both manual and automatic transmissions. The people doing it wrong are easily spotted and that’s what I was referring to. When it’s done wrong, the effects can be serious and I think that’s why it isn’t condoned.

I have to disagree, two foot drivers that have their brake lights on while driving are a hazard to everyone around them. Am I supposed to slow down even though you appear to be accelerating, how do I know when you’re actually stopping to maybe turn because you probably don’t use a blinker either. If the elderly person is accidentally hitting the gas in an emergency or non-emergency situation they should not be driving. People take driving cars for granted, as if it’s their right almost, without realizing it’s a big piece of mechanical machinery. Would a construction worker operating a backhoe that confused the two keep his job driving the thing? Probably not. The same needs to apply here. I think the best solution for the community would to get a van service that could drive people around.