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Left foot braking in cars

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Left foot braking in cars

Old 7th Jun 2019, 03:40
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Left foot braking in cars

Not for the first time I'm asking if folk among our members use left foot braking on automatic transmission cars?

The reason I ask this time is that the IAM guy will not sanction left foot braking. "we'll soon get you out of bad habits"

Yeh, right. 60 years since I was driving my OLDS 88. 6,066cc. All driving in the US with left foot. Totally normal if I change over to stick shift and back in one day.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 05:42
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We used to left foot brake when racing (only used the clutch off the line - after that just lift and shift). More than once I was able to compensate for an ill handling car by appropriate jabs of the brake while also applying throttle which would help the car rotate. However that was on a race track, with high levels of concentration, and a conscious effort to keep the left foot off the brake when you didn't need them.

Day to day driving is different - and people don't pay attention to the left brake foot, meaning inadvertent brake application is all too common. I've often followed people who's brake lights would illuminate randomly - possible it was an electrical problem but most likely left foot brakers who weren't paying attention and hitting the brakes without knowing it. Even light pressure on the brake pedal can cause premature brake wear, really lousy fuel mileage, and even heat the brakes to the point that they'll be too hot to be effective when really needed.
Bad, bad habit for every day driving.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 05:54
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Bad, bad habit for every day driving.
Agreed - recently followed a newish vehicle where the brake lights came on and off randomly and even remained on when accelerating! I would find it hard to believe such an expensive car would have faulty brakes after so few miles thus left foot braking could be happening.
Makes it difficukt to follow as I tend to react to the lights coming on.........
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 06:23
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That left foot can burn out a clutch too. My mother 'never rested her foot on the pedal'. 😁

Driving an automatic I find it unnatural to place the left foot flat on the floor beyond the pedal line or off line to the foot rest. Too easy to touch the brake.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 06:44
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I always right foot brake and leave my left foot comfortably on the 'Dead Pedal',I cannot see the point of left foot braking for road driving
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 07:06
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I've owned a number of automatics in the past and tried it but never got on with it. So I don't use the technique. There's enough distractions on today's roads as it is.

One similar thing I have had to get used to when riding my motorcycles; one has a "traditional" right foot gearchange (one up, three down) and the other has a left foot change (one down, four up). I carry out some braking using the appropriate foot before leaving the driveway, to realign my brain each time I go out.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 07:09
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As a youngster I suffered an injury to my right leg that continued to give me occasional grief for many years. One day I had to brake hard to avoid an idiot, and I nearly passed out from pain. I was very concerned by this and so my next car was an automatic in order that I could left foot brake. I have been doing so in automatic cars ever since, but if I drive a manual car, I automatically (no pun intended) switch to right foot braking.

The licensing inspectors here will fail you if you left foot brake
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 08:10
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Ditto @Shytorque. It's taken most of a lifetime to un-learn left foot braking on motorcycles, and I'm still not certain to get it right every time. Damned if I'm going to introduce any uncertainty when I'm driving my car.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 08:11
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Several massive accidents recently in Japan with the elderly mistaking the accelerator for the brake pedal and suddenly flooring the pedal in the vain hope of stopping.
Among the arguments for solving aging driver population problems, and there are several, is the adoption of left-foot braking in automatics.
My personal feeling is that all new cars bought by the under-25s and over 65s should be fitted as factory standard with automatic braking sensors, eventually rolling this out to the wider population. Obviously there would be further problems down the line, for example how to get out of a situation where you do not wish to stop...
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 08:18
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Originally Posted by jolihokistix View Post
Several massive accidents recently in Japan with the elderly mistaking the accelerator for the brake pedal and suddenly flooring the pedal in the vain hope of stopping.
Among the arguments for solving aging driver population problems, and there are several, is the adoption of left-foot braking in automatics.
Same sort of accidents have occurred in this part of the world. My elderly mother in law had a couple of falls which damaged her right knee and she lost some feeling in her limb. It became obvious that she couldn't guarantee which pedal she was going to press. Thankfully, she realised the danger this might cause and after some thought she reluctantly gave up driving for good.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 08:29
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I am 81 now and ever since my wife kept failing her manual driving test (1973) but passed her automatic we have had to have automatics only. I quickly adjusted to left foot braking and use it all the time. It is especially useful if you are in a traffic situation where you may have to brake really suddenly and swapping your right foot back and forth constantly can be a pain (literally). I like to think I am a careful enough driver to use the correct foot on the occasions when I have to drive a manual - it's just a matter of leaving enough room behind the car in front. The bottom line is that having the left foot poised over the brake pedal when needed can save a split second in braking time which can be very important under some circumstances. Left foot every time for me!
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 08:49
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Motor cycle "sides". i believe this depends upon which country designed the motor bike, a left hand drive one or a right hand drive one, to account for which way the bike rider leans when stopped at traffic lights and needs a foot handy to select gear when the lights change ? The only difference being that Japan, a drive on the left side of the road country, went for the American market after W.W.II ? Maybe ?
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 09:29
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Here, in great detail, is what the very notable UK motoring guru, Honest John, has to say on the subject, which comes up in his online columns almost as much as the B-word https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/dri...matics-safely/

I have to say that I am a very strong supporter of left braking for automatic cars in close quarters situations, if not on the open road.

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Old 7th Jun 2019, 09:39
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I left foot brake for probably 90% of the time. I can swap without issue between either foot braking and between manual and automatic cars. Left foot braking is very useful for traffic or car parks etc and it evens out the way you sit in the drivers seat, so I have less back and bum pain.

Some people can't get the hang of it, other can. Some people think it is a terrible idea, others swear by it. I don't care one way but I reckon a lot of the 'unintended accleration' accidents are caused by older people not left foot braking and perhaps being new to automatic cars.

Even it we all moved to right foot braking it isn't going to save any more lives, the world from climate change or Donald Trump/Jeremy Corbyn so its not a big issue.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 10:19
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As a right foot braker I hate it how some car models have the brake pedal significantly higher than the accelerator pedal making sliding your foot off the gas onto the brake a major unnatural foot movement. Left foot braking on slush boxes is just overcomplicating something that is already totally brainless, why bother.

Safety? Two weeks ago my mother left church and was on her way to the train station when she was called out to by an acquaintance. Another church goer (80 y/o) was leaving the church car park in his car when he mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal. He pulled out the church car park at an uncontrollable speed, did a 180, hit a parked car, and entered the staff car park of a hotel then crashed into a wall narrowly missing my mother.

I guess it doesn't really matter which foot you use to brake but what matters more is what you do to control your vehicle.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 11:17
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Originally Posted by cattletruck View Post
Left foot braking on slush boxes is just overcomplicating something that is already totally brainless, why bother.
Perhaps I could refer you back to my earlier post #8.

I am beginning to feel this is rather like the issue of to tattoo or not - a person with tattoos doesn't deride another person merely because they don't have tattoos. Similarly, people who left foot brake don't denigrate those who don't - but it does seem that those who don't left foot brake disparage those who do.

For the record, I have no tattoos.

BTW - I also drive my automatic vehicle in manual mode, selecting the appropriate gear (I hate CVTs), but clutchlessly. This is because I find that "kicking down" causes torque steer, and I prefer to control the application of overtaking power. "Totally brainless" is unnecessarily disparaging (in my humble opinion).
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 13:03
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An even worse mistake is forgetting you're driving an automatic and hitting the brake pedal, thinking it's the clutch. "Heeling and toeing" might be a better technique but one probably more suited to rally drivers.

Fortunately todays drivers don't need to double declutch as even a manual transmission with synchromesh is outside of the ability of most millenials.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 14:32
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I've often followed people who's brake lights would illuminate randomly
I followed my brother once and thought it odd that he was doing that- and in a newish car too

Then I realised it was probably the adaptive cruise control ... think about it

As for left foot braking, go ahead and do it if you want, but I don't see the point, I tried it once and almost went through the windscreen - ok I could get used to how hard to press, but the argument that you'll save a micro second by applying the brakes with your left foot instead of moving your right is, I think, a little spurious at best and overlooks the two most important points, namely that (1) you now have a different braking technique for Automatic and Manual vehicles and (2) braking with your right foot means it's DEFINITELY off the gas/accelerator/throttle/GoPedal

It won't matter soon anyway as the car will do all that for us
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 15:01
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Originally Posted by ETOPS View Post
Agreed - recently followed a newish vehicle where the brake lights came on and off randomly and even remained on when accelerating! I would find it hard to believe such an expensive car would have faulty brakes after so few miles thus left foot braking could be happening.
Makes it difficukt to follow as I tend to react to the lights coming on.........
I've noticed that on most newish BMWs , the indicators don't work; at least when I'm following them, they NEVER indicate a turn so there must be a wiring fault there too.
As for left foot braking, I've use it when I drive automatics but never in a manual gearbox car.

Last edited by chevvron; 7th Jun 2019 at 20:15.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 15:13
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jolihokistix

I bought my 4th Aprilia this year..175bhp..tyre wear within 1cm of edge on mountain roads. Drive a 5.3 V8 BRISTOL with a push button box, a tarts peugoet 206cc convertible with an automatic box and a large manual renault...65 year olds automatic braking systems! Bollox..I'm in my 70th year
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