Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Nervous/flutter/bouncy/pulsing/non-steady, gas peddle foot

My girlfriend and I just took a very long trip to see the eclipse. She offered to drive some of the time which I was grateful for. However she is one of those who does not have a steady foot on the gas peddle. If we got too close to the car in front of us rather than just ease off as we approached she just took her foot off the peddle and then stomped on it again to get going once we had backed off. Never mind what it does to the mileage, the sudden deceleration acceleration bothered me. I asked her to use the cruise control but she was not familiar enough with it to use it effectively. She braked too hard to turn it off.

I hadn’t ridden with her before on a long drive, only once in her car. We take my car since it is newer so I drive and so far not long enough to trade off. Many years ago in high school a teacher gave me a ride home and he had two modes, full throttle or no throttle. I remember I would never ride with him again.

Is anyone else bothered by sudden acceleration/deceleration?

I’m bothered by any driving that isn’t smooth. It’s not only hard on the passengers, but it’s hard on the car itself, and it’s dangerous because it makes you less predictable on the road.

Unfortunately in relationships you often have to choose between a smooth ride and a smooth relationship :wink:

If she’s at all interested in cars, a surprise “gift” of a high-performance driving event lesson pack would teach her smoothness without it looking like you were coming down on her for being a crappy driver. But that’s an expensive route to go - you’d be well on your way to getting her a nice ring for what those often cost. :wink:

Drives me insane to ride in cars driven like that. I usually offer to drive if people I know that drive like that might drive.

That behavior can be changed… but she’s got to want to change. Maybe better for you to drive.


My wife grew up in New York, in the midwest if we ever let her drive we would get seasick, I think after 25 years she is better, especially with the advent of cruise control, but it took many years of kind suggestions of try to maintain a steady speed, do not speed up to get to a red light, and let me drive to solve the situation, though I am not sure, as when we go anywhere I drive, and if on a long trip I think of resting and letting her drive pumps enough adrenaline into my blood to keep me going.

My wife is either acceleration, decelerating or braking. She never keeps a steady speed and refuses to use the cruse control. She consistently gets about 15% less gas mileage than I do even though I maintain a higher speed than she does.

On the rare occasions I ride with her , I have to keep my eyes closed while she is driving. She cannot read traffic and is constantly in the wrong lane and gets both mad and scared when she needs to change lanes at the last minute. Driving through Chicago with her as a passenger was a nightmare. She was constantly giving me direction pertaining to and expressway next to us we were not even on.

Why don’t I sat more? We have been married 60 years and I don’t cook. There is a limit to how much you want to disagree with someone who prepares all your food.


I have come to appreciate the backseat passenger driver, now I had been keeping my eyes on a too big camper for a pickup, he was in the left lane tailgating. I am like that guy does not have enough brakes to be doing that. \

So A policeman has someone pulled over, I am looking to the middle lane to get out of the right lane, now as I am watching my rear to pull in front of too big trailer with enough space wifey screams, I had started to pull in to the middle lane in front of the guy with too big a trailer and too little a truck, and some dufuss comes to a smack dab 30mph maybe? , see in my rear view mirror trailer is pulling all the stops, swerving and I pull into the right lane to avoid being rear ended, and hitting stopping dufus, trailer guy manages to pull into the left lane but if I had not pulled into the right lane we all would be toast. Sorry officer, I could not leave the lane open. Yikes.
After that oversize trailor for truck guy pulls into right lane and loooked like he was doing the speed limit in my rear view mirror, as I continued on at pace of traffic.

Yeah drives me nuts too. In drivers ed 50 years ago we learned to drive smoothly and how to brake without that final jerk. Had a taxi driver in Chicago that drove with either the pedal to the floor or the brake slammed on. He got us there but didn’t get a very good tip.

When I was in high school (middle '50s) a friend’s mother drove a '52 Buick Roadmaster — 2+ tons connected to a straight-eight through a two-speed Dyanflow transmission, and connected to the road through some of the softest springs/shocks I’ve ever experienced. When she drove, her gas pedal was either full on or full off, but the car road very smoothly. There was just the on-and-off roar of the huge straight-eight. One time my friend and I were in this behemoth while parked. We discovered that we could alternately use the brake and gas pedals to get the car to move vertically without any horizontal movement. Enough vertical movement to almost get the front wheels off the ground. The heyday of the American automobile. And something I need to remember when I complain about today’s teenagers. :wink:

Yup. But I seriously doubt if she’ll change her habits. I guess from now on you’ll have to take your car.
For the record, people who drive like this create a dangerous situation. People behind them get frustrated and start taking risks to try to pass them.

Neighbor had one of those dynaflow Buicks of that vintage.

I’ve heard it said that an excellent test of personal compatibility is to take a long trip together. Rather than seeking your gf to change, suggest you focus on deciding whether you can adapt. Or not. You’ve done the experiment and know the results in other words. The only thing left to decide is the conclusion.

1 Like

I have a buddy who used to drive like this. He also like performance cars. Imagine how riding with him felt!

We got him signed up to take his performance car to an instructed track weekend. His car was a turbo MR2, a rather tricky car to drive as the horsepower came on quickly in a non-linear fashion. His friends were concerned he was going to stuff the car in a big way and hurt himself.

And so he stuffed his car into a guardrail at fairly low speed 2 weeks before the track weekend. He took his wife’s FWD sedan to the track instead… His driving style changed completely after that one weekend with an instructor in the car. He caught the track-day bug and became not only a good driver but a talented one, too. He’s not stuffed a car since.

People can change their driving style but they need a little motivation.

It’s amazing how much good performance driving instruction makes you a better street driver. I’ve long thought that autocross should be part of driver’s ed. Learning to control the car at its limits goes a long way toward not banging into things when it’s snowing.

1 Like

Went on a business trip with a guy that thought the car had a binary gas pedal. He used frequency modulation. I tried reminding him he had an analog gas pedal but after awhile, the constant jerking back and forth got the better of me and I forced him to let me drive. One thing my Mom and Dad impressed on me while learning- the comfort of your passengers is very important and a good driver makes everyone feel comfortable. If they look like bobble heads, you may be a bad driver…

I have gone through that exact scenario.

And, on the topic of binary controls, I have known people whose method of operating both the A/C and the heater is to keep the temperature adjusted to the most extreme setting, with the fan running on its highest speed. Finally, when the passengers are ready to pass out from the extreme heat, or are visibly shivering from the extreme cold, these binary drivers then shut the HVAC system off completely.

Then, in the winter, when icicles are starting to form on passengers’ noses, they turn the heat on again–full-blast. In the summer, when everyone starts sweating bullets, then they turn the A/C on again–full blast.
Lather, rinse, repeat–ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

This type of behavior absolutely mystifies me, and–like the binary use of the gas pedal–this type of binary HVAC usage is also downright hostile to their passengers.