When I was a teen driver back in the 1950s, I had cars that would not
stop , shift into neutral, or depress the clutch (these were all
standard shift cars).
There were no recalls, either from the car manufacturer, or the company
that made the beer cans that rolled under the pedals.
Everyone should have to take a class before they can drive a 4 wheel
Maybe that will cut down on the number of 4 wheel drive vehicles that
pass you at high speeds on snow covered roads as you struggle to keep
going, and then you pass them as they lie off the side of the road with
various sides of the vehicle showing.
Just because they can go faster in inclement weather, they don't steer
or brake any better than a 2 wheel drive vehicle.
An experienced and locally well known police officer on highway patrol
was regularly contacted by the host of one of our morning shows for a
road report, traffic/weather conditions etc. .....
On one occasion, after providing comments, the officer was asked "And
where will you be heading now?".
His reply was a classic, "I think I'll head back towards the city and
see how many SUVs have gone off the road!".
No other comment needed!
Sadly, I'm qualified. Having killed the front gearbox on my
first 4WD, in total ignorance. The two times I spun out and
went into the ditch. One was going uphill in what I thought
was 4wd. Someone flew past me, and so I said "Oh, I can go
faster". touched the gas, and spun out.
Second moment, on my second 4wd vehicle. but I was in 2wd.
Same deal. Going slowly uphill on icy road. Someone flew
past me and I said ..... touched the gas, and spun out.
There's nothing basically wrong with left foot braking, I've done it all my
driving career, at least with automatics. It has the advantage of allowing you
to "cover" the brake pedal in circumstances where you might need to break.
By putting your left foot *above* the brake pedal, you reduce reaction time.
There is a problem when someone confuses the brake pedal with a foot rest and
puts their foot *on* the brake pedal while driving.
No, I don't get confused when I drive manuals. I use right foot braking then.
Don't even think about it.
If you're driving an automatic and need your left foot hoovering above
the brake pedal to "cover" it, while your other foot is on the gas,
then I'd say you're doing something very wrong. Simply slow down and
allow more space so there is no need to cover, which means that right
foot should be off the gas and on the brake. I can move my foot from
gas to brake in maybe a couple tenths of a second or less. Here in NJ
they will fail you for your driving test if you use two feet with an
Do you have specific evidence to the contrary? I could be wrong.
I mean, it was a long time ago and my memory is not what it used to be, but I
have always left foot braked automatics. I've taken a number of driving tests
(including a Class A license) and never had a problem with it. It seems to me
that left foot braking greatly reduces the chances of pressing on the gas when
you think you are pressing on the brake, a possible cause of some of the
On the other hand, the New Jersey Driver Manual
"A motorist should always use his/her right foot for both the brake and the gas
Really? You tried them all? Berkley High in 1966? The cars we learned on had
automatics. I actually didn't learn to drive a manual until college.
Seriously, I remember being taught left foot braking in driver's ed and I've
done it all my life. I don't know where I would have learned it otherwise. But
it will take more than a statement like that to invalidate my memory. We may
have to decide we can't convince each other.
FWIW, I began driving a tractor (clutch) at 10 and cars at 12.
That was in the 50's. I learned to use my left foot for the
clutch and right for brake and throttle. In the 80's, I taught my
kids the same thing-first on a John Deere and then a car. IMHO,
there is no reason, and is a cause for possible harm, to teach a
person to do otherwise. Sure, the Driver Ed-mobiles and many cars
now have autos, but what good does it to to teach a reaction to
kids that could get them killed when they move up to a manual
You do know that people who ride motorcycles use their feet (and
hands) differently then when they drive cars? Similarly, people who
fly aircraft use their feet (and arms) differently then people who
drive cars? Yet they all manage to do so safely even when switching
between the various modes of transportation. Or do you think aircraft
pilots are creating a hazard on the roadways as they drive to and from
The notion that people can't manage to use two feet in different ways
when driving is silly. Like anything, it's a skill that must be
learned. If you haven't, or are unable, to learn that skill then by
all means continue to let your left foot just flop around on the floor
and use only your right foot while driving an automatic.. Those of use
with the skill to use both feet will continue to do so and be safer
and more refined drivers as a result. Perhaps you ought to give it a
try, and I don't mean for 2 minutes, I mean for a week or two until
it's second nature, you might be surprised at how much smoother and
more effectively you can control your car in traffic. I've driven
(cars [with and without a clutch] and motorcycles) and flown aircraft
and never had a problem with my feet getting confused. It's something
you LEARN, just like the rest of the skills you acquire in life.
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