Talk:Left-foot braking

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Untitled Comment[edit]

In relation to a driver accustomed to using their left foot soley for clutch use I would agree that it applies even to cars which don't have a "heavy" clutch as mentioned in the Corvette example below. It's not so much that the clutch on your car needs to be heavy when an inability to left brake effectively will occur, it's more a case of how heavy your thottle pedal is as it's very rare that the force needed for both clutch and throttle are the same. Therefore attempting to left brake even in a Nissan Primera with a relatively "light" clutch compared to say a Corvette, the same result can occur; namely a left leg that is stronger than the right one which can result in an unexpected rapid decelaration as you press the brake with the force you would normally use for a heavier clutch. In summary the left leg is accustomed to a "heavy" clutch, the right leg is accustomed to a "light" throttle; and so when both legs are tested to press the same pedal (the brake) the left leg will through habit press harder than the right leg.

If left foot braking applies exclusively to fwd cars, why did Peter Brock use it so often at (for e.g.) Bathurst? Tannin

It is completely untrue that left-foot braking is exclusively for front-wheel drive cars. Almost all F1 drivers use left-foot braking, many having had much experience with it in karting, which requires this technique. With the advent of F1-style computer-controlled shifting in performance cars, eliminating the clutch pedal and thereby the use of the left foot for shifting, this technique will become more and more accessible for ordinary drivers.

  • I have added the other use of left-foot braking. 999 16:33, 1 May 2004 (UTC)
Isn't the two uses quite different? In the rally version you push both pedals at once, in the F1 you just use the left foot to break to avoid having to move the foot. // Liftarn


It is STILL not true about the rally car use - 4WD drivers use left foot braking too, almost exclusively. //Magnus

Street Use[edit]

Added citations that discourage left foot braking. However the article should recognize that there is debate about the topic, but a proper citation is needed. Unfortunately I was unable to find any worthwhile sources to cite regarding this, just various message boards discussions. If someone can find an article, government website, training academy, or any proper source that either states left foot braking is okay (in some or all circumstances) or makes mention of the debate, that would be perfect. Tmpst 21:42, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The article should distinguish between two cases.
  • left-foot braking as a an alternative to right-foot braking for simple deceleration
  • left-foot braking as a method of adjusting the vehicle's handling during cornering
There may well be a school of thought that says the first is a bad idea (though in principle there's no reason it should matter which foot is used). But the second is quite definitely a viable technique for overcoming inherent handling characteristics of the vehicle, such as FWD understeer, and should not be discouraged.
--Tedd 06:43, 24 February 2007 (UTC)


I removed the comment about it providing no benefits on public roads (from the intro). The benefits provided on track are present also on public roads, whether a person should be seeking out those benefits on public roads is another matter entirely and also quite subjective. It could be argued that the benefits of decreased delay between acceleration and breaking, and the weight transfer benefits, can be put to good use at legal speeds. In fact, with a skilled driver, LFB might be the 1 foot difference between a close call and an accident (thinking about the decreased delay here). Tmpst 20:46, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't see why LFB is potentialy dangerous for everyday street use, including panic situations. The argument about "rapid acceleration" seems at least wrong to me. I think the article must be edited so that it will reflect the debate around safety. If noone disagrees I will try to find some sources and edit it myself. By the way, some of the references are missing, the article needs cleanup. --racergr 23:27, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

LFB and Turbo Spool[edit]

I was under the impression that ALL rallye drivers used left foot braking before the advent of misfiring systems to spool up the turbo mid-turn. I suppose you're supposed to be able to balance out the acceleration and braking while increasing your revs at the same time, just as if you were accelerating, thus, spooling the turbo.

And, of course, it works with large turbos on street and/or racing to break the boost threshold faster. Automatic cars, in particular, utilise this technique, especially with a large turbo while drag racing. I think that LFB in regards to turbo spool should be included in this article.

It's somewhat moot in rallying, as nearly all WRC-level cars use an anti-lag system. Counterfit 08:45, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

LFB with auto transmission[edit]

The changes made in May by SpinyNorman introduced what seem to me have been an POV problem: this section opened with the unqualified statement thst "This practice is not recommended for drivers of road cars."

There are two, conflicting, schools of thought on the routine use of LFB when driving an automatic, and one inbetween (LFB for low-speed maneouvring, but not at other times). Wikipedia should try to fairly represent both viewpoints. Unfortunately, SpinyNorman's changes left the article seriously unbalanced.

I don't know if what I have done now is as balanced as it should be, but I think that this section is a lot better than it was. --BrownHairedGirl 14:55, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

I think that the practice of LFB in and of itself is neither safe nor dangerous. However, I think that certain applications of LFB are safe or dangerous. For instance, chances are that a professional racer practicing LFB is safe, where a sixteen-year-old novice in an unfamiliar car in rush-hour traffic is not safe.
Perhaps we need to reflect this.
--BarnacleKB 01:23, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea, if you can find sources to cite. But I think it would be inappropriate for any of us to simply editorialise on our own judgments. --BrownHairedGirl 08:03, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I think you're right. Any references to it being safe or dangerous need to be removed unless properly cited. --BarnacleKB 22:14, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Left-foot braking is considered dangerous by government driving organizations in the US, Canada, UK and Europe. The reasons are as simple as they are obvious - in an emergency situation, the "panic reaction" is to extend both legs and if one of them is on the throttle, that means unintended acceleration. Remember the trouble Audi had with "Sudden Acceleration Incidents"? It wasn't, as some had assumed, the placement of the pedals or some bug in the electronic fuel-injection system. It was the fact that, as the lowest priced European sports sedan in a time when European sports sedans were trendy, it was bought by a lot of people who used this preposterous left-foot braking technique but weren't used to cars with so much power. So, when they panicked and floored the accelerator, the car leapt out of control. --SpinyNorman 20:04, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
SpinyNorman, you clearly have strong views about LFB. However, lots of people do use it safely, and there are two sides to the debate, so I have now restored my previous version of that section.
This is because, unfortunately, your edits to the article are entirely one-sided, and your comments on the safety benefits of LFB in low-speed maneouvring are simly wrong: have you ever driven an automatic car? Not all automatics creep (the new VW/Audi DFG garboxes don't), and those that do creep often require use of the accelerator pedal as well.
As I wrote above, if you have any sources to cite on the merits/demerits fo LFB, let's see them -- but the only reference above is one I added. But in the meantine, please stop adding unsourced POV material: statements such "This practice is not recommended" have no place in Wikipedia unles they have a source. It would be fine to write "this practice is not recommended by X", but for that you would need sources: Wkikpedia is not a place for original research. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:17, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
If you can find a website or something where it says Left-foot braking is considered dangerous add it; or if you find where US, Canada, UK and Europe driving orgs state it. Outside Center 19:27, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
I have once again edited tis article to restore the argument in favour of LFB with auto transmissions which had been removed and replaced with unsourced POV assertions. There are two points of view here, folks: WP:NPOV requires that both be presented fairly, and sourced.
There is a clear argument (backed up with accident reports) for using LFB whilst maneouvring. Where anyone thinks that argument is "correct" is not the issue on wikipedia: our job is to present both sides of the debate fairly, with references. Unsourced assertions and removal of opposing sources does not comply with NPOV. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:44, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
LFB is discouraged because it is undesireable. I personally wouldn't go so far as to say the practice is dangerous in and of itself (except in a panic situation). However, the fact that VAG have deliberately implemented technology to prevent it and the fact that it is discouraged by driving instructors and car manufacturers the world over should be taken into consideration. Let me ask you something BrownHairedGirl, do you use LFB? --Lee Vonce 16:05, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
"discouraged because it is undesireable". Sources?
"I personally wouldn't go so far as to say". With all due respect, neither your opinion nor mine is relevant here.
I have reinstated the text which you removed about those who advocate LFB. Please do not remove it, or I will seek admin intervention. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:49, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

For neewbies, lfb will require familiarization. I started LFB in the 50's when AT were becoming popular, and many car manufacturers made the brake pedal extra wide to facititate LFB. I am speaking of automatic transmission cars. The comment that all manufacturers frown on LFB is erronous. Most american cars are auto now, and most brake pedals are wider than manual transmission models. LFB is a simple procedure that is easily learned and very useful and you will never find someone accidently hitting the gas pedal when their foot slips off the brake pedal with LFB. With about 60 years experience with it, its normal for me - if you dont like it, don't do it. However - reflexes are much faster with LFB and if you look, you will see why. This being my own view on LFB, If the person has never done it before ever, trying to pratice in rush hour traffic is not advised by me. But just trying to work the brake with the left foot on a off road, stoping at red lights and slowing down with it will get you used to driving using LFB. I autocross and Daily drive using LFB. the Problem about people extending out both feet is mostly l because of the lack car control they have in different situations. When I first started trying it, it was weird, the left foot can't vary its pressure on the pedal well enough, which means either you get on the brakes to much or not enough, you just have to Keep trying at it. --Justin aka TechSalvager —Preceding unsigned comment added by 202.151.82.48 (talk) 01:22, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

From my personal experience, I can swear that if I was not using my left foot for braking, I would have bounced other cars numerous times already. I had so many near hits in the past, especially in my early days of driving. Nothing can beat the instantaneous braking response in emergency situations than having the left foot hovering over the brakes ready to engage. My right foot lifts off the accelerator while my left foot simultaneously moves onto the brakes. Contrary to what others say, emergency situations do not cause me to step on the accelerator. If fact it becomes an automatic reaction to release the accelerator with one foot and step on the brakes with the other. It's so programmed into my mind. Thinking about it, if the claim that emergencies cause both feet to engage, wouldn't that cause more accidents with right foot braking instead? The logic is that the driver will engage the accelerator before getting time to shift his foot over to the brakes, while with left foot braking even though the right foot is on the accelerator, the left foot on the brakes can still cause deceleration. Another advantage of left foot braking is that I get precision control of the brakes. I can apply exactly the right amount of force to get slow down as needed without stopping suddenly. That's because the left foot only has one job - control the brakes. Finally, the main reason I started using left foot braking was because I could never get my right foot in the exact position so that it was comfortable while both on the accelerator and on the brake positions. There were a lot of times when half my right foot ended up resting on the edge of the brake pedal, creating the possibility of slipping off and reducing my ability to get precise control. I was worried that there would be the day there's an emergency, my right foot will slip off, hit the side of the brake pedal or not rest on the pedal properly to get the braking I need. Left foot braking solved everything. I cannot imagine driving without using my left foot. Openminded00 (talk) 13:36, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Hill starts[edit]

Living in a very hilly city I was taught to use left-foot braking in an automatic when preparing to set off uphill from a junction to prevent the car rolling backwards in the interval between letting go of the brake and pressing the accelerator. The automatic equivalent of holding the car on the clutch to set off smoothly. I have been in situations where if I hadn't done this it would have resulted in rolling back into the car behind me. 82.34.74.15 (talk) 20:15, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

See: Heel and toe, and Tailgating --zed — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.89.40.101 (talk) 17:32, 29 March 2018 (UTC)


Accident stats[edit]

Is there any truth to the rumor that left foot braking causes more accident? If so, where can I find statistics and include a section of that in the article? I would like to help. - Pernambuco 00:31, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Clutch Pedal force[edit]

"Also, when the left foot is often used for depressing the clutch pedal this generally requires more force than operating the brake." I suppose if you drive a Corvette, this is true, but I have to wonder how many cars have that heavy of a clutch pedal. Counterfit 08:49, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

It's not how much force is required, but how much force drivers are used to. I think what it should say is that drivers are habituated to quickly pressing the clutch all the way down, and that this instinct could cause them to brake much more violently than intended if/when they try to lfb without thinking about it. Tmpst 02:00, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

The Clutch is normal?[edit]

Whoever wrote this article seems to think the clutch is normal. Can anyone supply proof that it's normal? Dingold 02:42, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Sure it's "normal"[edit]

What seems "normal" in one place (for example, USA) can seem as something of an oddity for the rest of the world (notwithstanding Hollywood making New York / Los Angeles the Center of the World). Manual transmissions, even in the 21st century, are still considered the "normal" (non-optional) type of transmission for a passenger vehicle. The exception being, of course, the United States of America (only since the 1950s) and select few other countries worldwide.

For example, in Europe, cars with manual transmissions account for over 75% of new (as of 2008) models, as opposed as only 12% for auto trannies.

[http://www.dctfacts.com/hmStory4a.asp - West European Light Vehicle Production by Transmission Type]

Flurry (talk) 22:45, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

History and invention of[edit]

It seems that there is some agreement that Rauno Aaltonen has been involved in wider application of left foot braking. However, as left foot braking is still fairly obvious thing to do in many situations that existed already well before Mr. Aaltonen's racing career (for example automatic transmission or driving a formula/kart), some additional references would be valuable to confirm if Mr. Aaltonen actually invented the method, applied it to new type of situations/vehicles (rallying and/or fwd vehicles) or just succesfully and extensively used it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.66.174.253 (talk) 14:30, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Broken Link[edit]

Hi, the link http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/main.jhtml?xml=/motoring/2001/05/12/emrip12.xml is broken and i couldn't find the right one, please help! Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.114.62.71 (talk) 08:08, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Comments on the pages.[edit]

I am new to this so if I violate any specific rules, I apologize in advance. My goal is to attempt to clarify and through clarification, save lives. Left Foot Braking For Automatic Transmission Automobiles Nov 2013

Left foot braking is a braking technique used by some drivers to prevent parking lot crashes, shorten panic stop braking distances and improve automobile braking in general. 1. Parking lot crashes: A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of 2400 gas pedal accidents in North Carolina (driver attempts to move the right foot from the gas pedal position over to the left foot area where the brake pedal is located but hits the gas pedal instead), tend to occur more frequently but not exclusively among drivers over the age of 76 and under the age of 20. 2. Highway panic stops and automobile braking in general: Lack of concentration by most drivers is the main cause of rear end collisions and pedestrian accidents. Milliseconds count in this situations and undocumented reports indicate that a car braking via the left foot braking method will stop in 30 feet (9 meters) shorter distance when braking from a speed of 37 mph (60 kph), than a car where braking is attempted with the right foot.

What constitutes left foot braking? Left foot braking must first of all deal with the anthropometrics of seating. Simply put the driver must be able to comfortably sit for long periods of time and at a moment’s notice be able to stop the vehicle in a safe distance. 1. The driver’s seat is adjusted so that the heel of the right foot, which is responsible for the GO mode, rests comfortably on the floor of the car, sharing a portion of the weight of the right leg. The balance of the weight of the right leg is supported by the driver’s seat. The right foot is then in a neutral position neither causing the vehicle to accelerate or decelerate until activated. 2. The heel of the left foot which is responsible for the STOP mode should also be resting comfortably on the floor supported in the same fashion as the right leg. Again the paramount consideration is that the left foot is in a neutral position, not touching the brake pedal. 3. It may not always be possible to exactly achieve the objectives of point 1 and 2. Some vehicles do not have adjustable brake pedals so a compromise between the left leg and the right leg positions may be required. The priority must be given to the left leg which must always be in a comfortable position over many hours but always at the ready for a slow down or stop action. The position of the right leg may be compromised from a response and comfort point of view as GO is a lower priority than STOP. Discomfort with the right leg (e.g. toe vs. full foot monitoring or accelerating) can be eliminated by (weather permitting) cruise control. Cruise control also reduces the amount of instrument panel monitoring required and eliminates speeding tickets.

Myths or criticisms of left foot braking:

1. There are drivers who claim they have witnessed old slow drivers with their brake lights on and therefore they must be drivers using the left foot braking method, prematurely wearing out their brakes. No scientific records exist to back up this assertion and it is more likely that a lazy right foot was the culprit. It should also be pointed out that a properly trained driver would be following the requirements of left foot driving and therefore the cruise control would cancel the GO mode, thereby alerting the driver. 2. It has been said that the relationship between the brain and the left leg is not as good as with the right leg. Therefore the left leg does not have the sensitivity required for smooth braking. It is of interest to note that the manoeuver that in the past required the most sensitivity was the engagement of the clutch, which was done with the left foot. 3. It has also been said that with the left foot braking method, the left foot is only used 35% of the time vs. 85% of the time for the right foot and therefore the left foot does not have the sensitivity for smooth breaking. Unfortunately in most cities with horrendous stop and go traffic this probably is not a legitimate criticism or myth. 4. Not being able to use the driver’s left foot to stabilize one’s body in a panic braking situation has been also stated as a disadvantage of left foot braking. No records exist of any tests proving this criticism but most car seat belts are comparable to aircraft pilot seat belts and aircraft manoeuvers are certainly more violent. 5. At the time of the unintended acceleration situation it was suspected that some drivers had depressed the gas pedal and the brake pedal at the same time. If this action was the cause of the unintended acceleration then left foot braking would be at a distinct advantage. However the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Administration has mandated that all passenger vehicles have controls that mandate the input to the brake pedal must override the input to the gas pedal so this is no longer an issue. 6. Drivers that utilize left foot braking may be more susceptible to rear end collisions. Because of the shorter panic stopping distances this may be true, however the same may be said for cars with automatic breaking systems and future cars of the Google design.




References: 1. Human Dimension & interior Space by Julius Panero and Martin Zelnik. 2. National Highway Traffic Safety Report 3. U. S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Administration, 49 CFR, Part 571 (Docket # NHTSA-2012-0038), RIN 2127-AK18. 4. Ross Bentley Driving Unlimited, 2002, Tip # 21. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Twcarnduff (talkcontribs) 21:03, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

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