Marital car dispute

I drive a 2007 Toyota Prius. My husband is a very opinionated passenger. He says that every time he sees brake lights ahead, he want to feel that I have put on the brakes. He says I am going to kill us all.

I say that as a Prius driver interested in good gas milage, I never brake unnnecessarily and then with moderation. I say that I drive with my food hovering over the gas and brake pedals and brake judiciously.

Just remove the food from the area of the brake pedal, and you should be fine.


I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t resist that one.

In all seriousness, if your driving is making your husband nervous, then perhaps you should give some thought to leaving more distance between your car and the car ahead of you. Far too many people “tailgate”, and apparently they don’t even realize that they are doing it. If you leave more room in front of your car, this should help to make him feel less threatened by your driving.

How do you make food hover?

Without first hand knowledge of your driving habits it’s impossible to say which of you is correct.

Some people, especially men, make lousy passengers.

Perhaps when you go somewhere together you should take his car and let him drive. That will save you some gas and he won’t complain.

I’d say that it depends on how close the brake lights are to you and if this is a case of following too close, etc…
In traffic I drive with the left foot hovering near the brake pedal and this is not defined as actually riding the pedal, causing my brake lights to illuminate, etc. I prefer to think of it as a precaution to gain a fraction of a second in case an emergency move needs to be made.

Always brake or at least get out of the gas when you see brake lights. Whos “all” of us? If you have kids in the car i cant even believe your in question about this. Id limit your gas saving strategy to easing in and out of the gas pedal.

How many accidents have you had in the past 10 years. My wife’s driving makes me crazy, accelerate to a red light etc. But After a few years I quit complaining about her NYC driving and be the driver anytime we go anywhere. If your driving record is good, put in a fake brake petal an say lighten up.

How often do you end up having to brake heavily? If you get through your drives with no more than gentle braking, then you’re fine. Gentle braking on the Prius helps recharge the battery, so it’s not a problem by itself.

There’s no need to brake unless you will get too close to the car in front of you. If you drive defensively, this should not be an issue. But this is a hard question to answer, since we aren’t in the car with you. It might just be that he is more comfortable with a greater cushion between you and the traffic in front. There isn’t much you can do but put up with him or tell him to pipe down.

I say that as a Prius driver interested in good gas milage, I never brake unnnecessarily and then with moderation. I say that I drive with my food hovering over the gas and brake pedals and brake judiciously.

Actually, braking recharges the battery in a Prius.

I say that as a Prius driver interested in good gas milage, I never brake unnnecessarily and then with moderation.

These overly complicated little cars are supposed to have good gas mileage designed into them for those people interested in getting good gas mileage so that the driver doesn’t have to use unusal driving habits to do it. Just let the car handle it and you concentrate on driving carefully and safely.

If you’re scaring passengers then I agree with others that you’re either following to closely, trying not to use the brakes enough, or who knows what. You are taking mileage to an extreme. Just drive. Let the car do the MPG thing. You may want to consider a refresher course in safe driving skills.

What motivates you to the point of “Marital car dispute” ? Are you on too tight a budget, saving the planet, or what ?


It is truly amazing how NOT having a steering wheel and a brake pedal changes your perception of how close someone is following the car in front. My wife complains of the same thing, and I feel the same way when she is driving.

We’ve both agreed to not express our thoughts unless we feel truly feel unsafe. Seems I’m better at it than she is.

Is it possible that she’s hyper-miling and he’s a tad jumpy?

Yes. That’s Why I Recommended To Just Drive Normally. Hyper-Miling Borders On ( or actually is ) Extreme Behavior, Especially In A Little Car That Most People Buy Thinking They Will Get Good Mileage.


First safety is before mileage. Let me repeat that, safety is before mileage. Don’t compromise safety for a very little mileage. In your car the difference in mileage is going to be very little. Your car is going to give you good mileage so special driving techniques are not going to offer much gain.

The question, which we can't answer, is a matter degree. it is not a matter or right or wrong.

 I suggest this:  Call a local driving school.  Make an appointment with a certified driving instructor and have the driving instructor test BOTH of you.  

 This is more than just the aggravation each of you feel, but also the possible problem of one or both of you not driving safely.  

  [b]  Safety First[/b]

Yes; I worked with a guy who was a white-knuckle flyer. He was so ego-centric and suspicious that he did not trust the PILOT! I assured him that the pilot was well trained and was at least as interested in his own safety as that of my colleague.

I agree with Safety First. Next, the Prius is designed to capture the energy used to brake and reuse it later to make the car go. That negates the principal argument you have for delayed braking.

In reality you like to drive fast and want to make sure you stay close to the car ahead so you don’t lose a second or two and reach your destination faster. This is aggressive driving behavior.

Passengers are never as comfortable as the driver since the passenger isn’t in control and is relying on the driver to provide a safe, smooth trip. Whatever the reason, excess speed, following too closely, or delayed braking leading to harder braking; your driving is making your husband nervous.

You can keep the marital fight going, just keep doing as you are doing. Then use bogus reasons to justify your actions. Or, take heed of his warning and reduce the chance of altering the front end of your Prius by hitting the car in front of you.

By the way anytime you hit something with the front of your car it is a “preventable” accident, period.

I know your method. ( slowing by decelerating )
Far, far, FAR too many drivers brake unnecessarily when all they need to do is let off the gas.( but they’re my paycheck so I won’t try to change their driving )

During non heavy traffic, show your husband just how much the car slows when you simply let off the gas pedal. Demostrate this several times so he gets the feel that really are adjusting your speed to the traffic in front of you without your “food” on the brake pedal.

You might even develop the art of saying what you’re doing to appease him.
Something like “foot off the gas” or “slowing now” might tell him that you are in fact reacting to the conditions.
AND, he’ll soon realize that YOU are already adjusting speed far sooner that HE’s telling you to brake.

My 06 Ford Escape hybrid has a “low” gear in the cvt trans which gives it exellent engine braking and battery regenerative action as well, no brakes needed till about 10 mph.

Here’s my counterpoint to Ken’s post, which I think is a very good one if your husband is in fact being a worrywart. But just in case he’s not…

“I say that as a Prius driver interested in good gas milage, I never brake unnnecessarily and then with moderation.”

As rationalizations go, you couldn’t possibly have picked a worse car to apply this one to. The brakes on a Prius recharge the battery for the electric motor. Even on a regular car, braking a second earlier is not going to have a measurable effect on gas mileage. Now, if you had been concerned about prematurely wearing out your brake pads…nah, you’d still be wrong, because, as many others have already said, safety first.

Since you didn’t defend the actual safety of your driving, but instead provided a (weak) rationale for driving the way you do, I’m gonna side with your husband on this one.

As a rule of thumb, you should leave at least two seconds between yourself and the car you’re following. That is, if the driver ahead of you is passing landmarks less than two seconds before you pass them, then you’re following too closely. Most people don’t bother thinking about this. They are the reason we have so many rear-end collisions. Don’t be one of them.

Also, you’re husband isn’t opinionated. He’s just right. You are going to kill someone. So be careful! :slight_smile:

How many seconds do you maintain between you and the car in front of you? If it’s less than three seconds, you should definitely be preparing to brake when you see brake lights in front of you. If it’s more than three seconds, you’ve given yourself time to think and can do as you judge best. If it’s more than 4 seconds, open the passenger door and push hubby out.