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Left Foot Braking An Automatic Car | Learn to drive: Car Control Skills

Left Foot Braking An Automatic Car  |  Learn to drive: Car Control Skills


In the UK we traditionally drive an automatic car with only our right foot, using it to press both the accelerator and brake pedals. However in other countries drivers are sometimes taught to use their left foot to brake the car, and so drive the car with both feet. In this video we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of using our left foot to brake an automatic car, so you can decide
which technique is best for you. As always, if you would like to be notified of our next video please subscribe to our channel, and if you have any questions about this video then please leave a comment below. Let’s look at 3 benefits that left foot
braking can give us. In an emergency the quicker we can press the brake pedal to stop the car, the better. Having our left foot positioned above the brake pedal will reduce the time it takes to start braking, as we won’t need to move the position of
our right foot to the brake pedal first. So, if we need to stop quickly, using our left foot will save a fraction of a second and shorten the stopping distance. Of course, if the left foot is flat on the floor at the time of an emergency, then the time it takes to reach the brake pedal could actually be longer than normal – so we must keep our left
foot ‘ready’ and poised over the brake anytime we sense danger. Occasionally, drivers of automatic cars get confused and press the wrong pedal to stop their car. In this situation instead of braking they are actually pressing the accelerator, and as they try to brake harder to stop their car they are adding more and more engine power – resulting in the car going out of control
and crashing into whatever is in front of it. Driving with one foot for each pedal will
reduce the chance of this happening and prevent many needless accidents. On a very steep hill start some automatic
cars can roll back or struggle to move away. Using our left foot to hold the brakes on
whilst pressing the accelerator lightly will allow the engine to produce more power before we release the brake and allow the car to move away. Next, let’s look at 3 disadvantages of left
foot braking. We must be careful not to rest our left foot
on the brake pedal all the time – this is called ‘riding the brakes’ and can be dangerous. This is because our brake lights will flash or light up continuously even if we aren’t actually activating the brakes. Any following drivers won’t know if we are
braking or not and may become confused about our brake lights, so if we then have to brake
suddenly they won’t have any warning that we are stopping. At the very least, unnecessary
use of the brakes like this will increase brake wear and fuel consumption. Using both feet to drive an automatic does
make it possible to accidentally push both pedals at the same time. If a driver pushes
both pedals fully in an emergency it can be dangerous as the car will take much longer
to stop, as the brakes will have to fight the engines power as well as stop the car. Once a driver is used to driving a manual
car, it can be difficult to get used to braking with the left foot. This is because the left
foot is used to fully pressing the clutch pedal for each gear change, so the sensitivity
needed to brake smoothly has to be developed. The first time a driver tries left foot braking
it usually results in a very sudden stop – so if you do want to try left foot braking, practice
somewhere safe at low speed to let the left foot get used to the brake pedal. In our opinion, left-foot braking is not necessarily
bad or dangerous, so long as the driver is aware of what both feet are doing and are
careful not to ‘ride the brakes’ accidentally. On a Driving Test the examiner would have
no problem with left foot braking as long as the car was driven smoothly and in full
control. For a new driver that only needs to drive automatic cars then it should be
equally easy to learn to drive with either right or left foot braking, as their muscle
memory is fresh and won’t have to ‘un-learn’ any previous braking techniques. For more
experienced drivers, especially those who drive both manual and automatic cars, it will
be much more difficult to change over to left foot braking. Even after getting used to the
feel of using their left foot to brake, it would be dangerous if there was any confusion
or delay in an emergency. Because of this we would advise drivers to think very carefully
before making a switch to left foot braking. If you found this video interesting, then
please visit our channel as there are over 100 more tutorial videos to help you improve
your driving. If you would like to help us make new videos,
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22 thoughts on “Left Foot Braking An Automatic Car | Learn to drive: Car Control Skills

  1. Thanks for watching – if you found this video interesting then please subscribe to our channel and click the bell to be notified of our next video! This video includes;
    * 0:05 Introduction
    * 1:08 Advantages
    * 3:20 Disadvantages
    * 5:30 Summary

  2. Automatic is easy and why he uses the left foot brake while we are supposed to use only the right foot on an automatic gearbox. I do not understand why he makes this mistake ???

  3. Interesting! Although you didn’t mention it, there could be a problem with the car’s braking/traction if the driver accidentally operates both pedals – e.g. which one has priority; regenerative braking, or power? Might be worth checking with the manufacturer for that kind of thing.

    I’m not familiar with the Nissan Leaf, but my Toyota hybrid has a built-in “hill start assist” feature, which reduces the risk of rolling back on rising gradients; no difficulty with transferring from brake to accelerator.

    Sometimes, I make use of “cruise control” so as to keep my right foot close to the brake when it might be necessary to react as quickly as possible, so that’s similar to the proposed benefit of learning to use the left foot. Just a fraction of a second off one's 'reaction time', but potentially useful at higher speeds.

  4. Having driven a manual for 10 years, when I got my first auto I just couldn't do left foot braking, I still don't, it just feels so 'wrong'.

    But the Highway Code / Driving: The Essential Skills does say it is acceptable if it helps to control the car at slow speeds, i.e. parking/ reversing.

  5. That makes sense to use 2 feet.My only fear is, if I alternatively press accelerator and brake, will a time come when not me, but the system would fail. Meaning I press accelerator then brake then both then accelerator then again brake.
    Oh gosh! The brake ain't stopping the car. Lift your feet and press again….Imagine that scenario. Will it happen?
    Do reply

  6. The "two pedals simultaneously" argument is repeated any time the matter is discussed, and it appears totally wrong to me. Simply ask the question the other way: why would a 2-foot driver fail to UNPRESS the gas pedal any more frequently than a 1-foot driver, in similar circumstances? I driver Smart Fortwo and I am all 2-foot, can't imagine myself doing 1-foot and not crashing. 14 years of driving, never an accident to my fault.

  7. Good video which lays out the issues, the main one being sensitivity of the left foot, so it does take careful practice. I met two older men who crashed their auto vehicles and swore that they applied the brake, when they could only have applied the accelerator and left foot braking eliminates this risk and does improve braking time. I lived in Dubai for 5 years where traffic is fast and heavy and I must have avoided at least two crashes and I am very happy using left foot back in the UK.

  8. Thank you. very informative, i have limited use of my right ankle and wondered if i could learn to left foot brake an auto,This video answered my question ).

  9. In the U.S. when I got my first automatic transmission car, I immediately and instinctively began using my clutch (left) foot to brake. I never 1) rode the brakes, 2) ever came anywhere close to pushing both pedals at the same time, 3) had a problem modulating pressure on the brake pedal.
    I’m obviously very pro left-foot braking, and I think for good reason.

  10. I actually don't own a car yet (14 years old), but I do race in a Simulator. To be honest, even cruising in the simulator, it seems as if right foot braking actually doesn't increase your brake times too much (it can take up to 20 feet later to stop though). When I tried left foot braking, I was almost immediately adjusted to it, as I could press the brake pedal smoothly and swiftly without 'riding the brakes', and every time an accident would happen in the simulator, I never, I repeat NEVER slammed on both brake and gas. To me, that seems very hard to press both the gas and brake at the same time. One issue that is almost never mentioned about 2 foot driving is that, in the event of an accident, both your feet STAMP down on the pedals because of G-Forces, and not to mention that if you get knocked unconscious, both your feet will grow 'heavy' and will stamp on both pedals at once. Left foot braking is a good strategy, but it can be dangerous if you don't know how to do it.

  11. In about 2 yrs time they will only probably be automatics as most people pass in them as it’s much easier to drive than manual

  12. Im a left footed person (in terms of football) so its easier for me to brake with the left foot. It feels more natural and secure since im left footed.

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