Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Is it ok to drive with two feet?

Noah from Seattle says his boyfriend drives with two feet, something that Noah contends is unsafe.

What camp to you fall into? One foot… or two?

I have been driving automatic transmissions for aprox 55 years, and have always used both feet. I believe it is the only way to drive.

Every person I have ever seen that has driven an automatic with two feet has driven in the most dangerous of ways.

They would keep their foot on the brake while accelerating, which not only left their brake lights on giving others the impression that they were slowing down or getting ready to stop when they were not, but would also burn up their brakes vastly increasing the amount of brake pad replacements over the life of the car plus creating the risk of having the brake fluid boil leaving them with no brakes at all.

Also, using both feet doubles the chance that you will hit the wrong pedal in split-second emergency situations, or you will leave the gas pedal on while hitting the brake which will almost negate using the brake at all.

I was taught to only use the right foot. The left foot is for the clutch, if there is one. If not, shove it on the dead pedal and keep it there where it won’t interfere, confusing other drivers, burning out brake light bulbs, and putting unnecessary wear on the brakes.

Driving with 2 feet should only be done when the car is equiped with a clutch. A lot of people believe it is safe but it isn’t. Most reasons have been addressed here already. Actually, many people fail a driving test because they drive with 2 feet. The teens down the street were taught by their grandmother to drive that way and everyone of them failed the driving test for that reason. Grandma was furious and let everyone know about it. Well, just a couple of months ago she drove through a retaining wall at the bank drive through. Her oldest teenage granddaughter was in the front seat and told the police that when grandma tried to stop she mashed down with both feet but one was on the brake and one was on the accelerator. Grandma swore that she had both feet on the brake. The tire marks on the road backed up the granddaughter’s version. The granddaughter told my son that now she sees the reason for learning to drive with one foot and is now driving that way. Some people will always believe they are right even when told several valid reasons for doing things a certain way.

This has been a source of contention for my mother-in-law and me. She claims that since she learned to drive with a stick shift, she is used to driving with two feet. So in the absence of the clutch pedal, she uses her left foot on her brake. I told her that since I also learned to drive with a stick shift, I use my right foot for the gas and the brake, and my left for the clutch. So in the absence of the clutch pedal, my right foot still operates the gas and the brake, and my left foot stays idle.
My ex took my MIL?s side, and called me stupid. Any wonder the ex is the “ex”? Or that my daughter is too scared to ride in my ex-MIL’s car?

I started driving in a 1930 Swallow (the first Jaguar) with a non-synchronized shift (appropriately called a “crash” box). Definitely only one foot, unless you were changing gear (even that could be done using just the gas pedal, if you got the revs exactly right). Using two feet either wore out the front brakes (the only ones connected to the pedal - by a simple cable; to use the rear brakes you had to use the parking lever) or the clutch thrust race (which needed frequent use of the oilcan to keep it lubricated). So I’m a single-pedal guy. Or was until recently. As a result of a foot injury, I don’t trust my right foot to give enough pressure on the brake, so I now drive with both feet - but I am very careful not to let my left foot “ride” the brake pedal. That’s a recipe for accelerated wear or brake failure due to overheating - not something to be experienced in the canyons here in Utah!.

Well, I do not ride the brakes, and have never had a problem using my left foot on the brake. I accidently let my licence expire some year back, took my driver’s test driving with both feet and passed just fine. I even reminded the Officer that I used both feet and he told me to drive however I wanted to. It is so simple, the right foot to go and the left foot to stop. It is possible that one might get confused while driving a stick, but I hate stick shifts and avoid them. Thanks for hearing me out!!!

shifting gears without the clutch with a non-synchronized transmission is not a good idea! If someone is so stupid as to keep the brakes on while driving, then they had better use just the right foot or not drive at all!!

Ofcourse it’s ok- way faster reaction time to brake.
uh… - if your brain can’t tell what your left foot is doing while using the right, then you have bigger problems. I always drove stick shift, and when I moved to automatic, I got scared trying to drive just with one foot.
The left foot is on the foot rest till is called to action - the right foot knows what the left foot is doing - at least for most people - and eases the gas pedal - pretty simple.
Yes, they don’t teach people to drive in th US - just to operate the car - quite different

bacalhau. you are right-on. I have seen people trying to drive to a certain spot with one foot, they fall short or go past the spot. With the left foot on the brake you can stop right where you want to. (without hitting something).

"Also, using both feet doubles the chance that you will hit the wrong pedal in split-second emergency situations, or you will leave the gas pedal on while hitting the brake which will almost negate using the brake at all."
Well to do this one would have to step on the other foot!! Not likely!!
Why would one hit the gas pedal which is on the right with their left foot when the brake pedal is at least twice as big and on the left?

Cops do it all the time - in high speed pursuits. It’s a great way to keep control of their speeding vehicle, and they have an advantage over the ordinary driver in a HS pursuit. I’ve ridden with cops that do it. It is a blast! And, reaction time is way minimal. I’ve done it and I like it, but, there is a tendency to hit brakes harder than usual when fooling around this way. Also, driving with two feet is good for assisting steering the vehicle in panic situations. However, for just ordinary driving, I find it tiring to keep the left foot poised all the time, so, under ordinary driving conditions, I don’t do it. And, Seth is right. When you know how to drive with two feet you tend to become overconfident with your enhanced braking skills and drive a little more recklessly.

I was taught in driving school in the '60s to use one foot only to prevent pressing both the gas and the brake in an emergency. But to be honest, I’m sure our brains are quite capable of being programmed to react properly using both feet. We’ve had a number of threads on this subject in the past and regular posters that I have a great deal of respect for say they’ve been driving with two feet for decades. The only caveat is to learn not to “ride the brakes”, but one can train oneself not to.

We can program ourselves to do amazing things. Pianists train their hands to do totally different things, yet maintain an very structured relationship between what the two hands are doing. Our brains can do wonders. The only caveat is that they need to be trained. If you never teach yourself to do the thing properly it will not do it by itself.

It is not one foot vs two feet that is safe or unsafe. Ether can be safe or unsafe. It depends on the individual.

The one thing I would suggest not doing is switching back and forth. Pick one and stick to it.

It seems to me that a two-foot driver couldn’t safely drive a manual transmission because using the left foot for braking would be a hard habit to break. I’d hate to limit myself to driving only automatics, so one foot seems like the better approach (especially for anyone who ever plans to visit Europe).

It’s fine to drive with both feet. If cars had been equipped with automatics from day one, everyone would be doing it!!

I learned to drive the “normal” way in 1954 in a stickshift car, but have driven with both feet since 1965.

I was taught that you should NEVER have feet on both pedals at the same time. You’re either going or stopping, and not both. I do it with one foot because I couldn’t safely use both. You use only the right foot for gas or brake in a manual; my opinion is that the same should apply to automatics.

ah, millions of truckers shift their non-synchronized transmissions without clutch pedals. Speaking of trucks and buses, why do they have the loud and top pedals on the right side of the steering column? Buses are automatics, so they can have the brake pedal on the left side of the column.

This is like trying to get the far left to agree with the far right-It’ll never happen. I’ve been driving with two feet for 45 years since before driver’s training. The instructor made me stop during driver’s training. I believe your response time is faster and getting feet mixed up or riding the brake is simply hog wash or from inattention or inexperience. Nothing wrong with it at all.