Left-footed braking?

From The 180 show’s section of the CBC site: Ontario man pitches braking with the left foot, instead of the right.

Trevor Frith is a retired engineer, and he got in touch with us about his campaign to have the government study which foot is safer to use to brake a car.

Driving schools in Canada teach students to use their right foot to brake. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia says you should always brake with your right foot. Safe driving advocates say it’s the safe method.

But Trevor Frith, the man behind leftfootbraking.org, thinks right foot braking could contribute to pedal error, a situation where someone thinks they’re stepping on the brake, but are actually pushing the accelerator. Pedal error can lead to collisions like this one in 2012.

While he doesn’t advocate people switch over immediately, Frith would like provincial governments, or the federal government, to study the issue. [continue]

4 thoughts on “Left-footed braking?

  1. I remember wondering why it was necessary to use the right foot to accelerate and brake when I was learning to drive. I, of course, obediently learnt to brake with my right foot but am intrigued by the suggestion that this might not be the safest method after all. I can certainly recall hearing about a number of collisions here in Australia where the driver accidentally pressed the accelerator rather than the brake. I’ll be interested to hear whether this is studied and what the results are!

    • Me too, Henry, me too. How many times have we believed some expert or other, only to learn later that the so-called “best” way to do things is inferior after all, and that the “expert” is just inventing things? Perhaps the right-foot-only braking doctrine is yet one more example of that.

  2. My departed Dad told me I wouldn’t pass the driver’s test if I braked his automatic with my left foot. My uncle, with a three speed three on the tree, didn’t care how I did it, as long as I didn’t kill the engine or us. I still drive manual and brake right foot because lefty is busy with the clutch. But in an automatic, I have two pedals and two feet. It is quicker to lift the gas foot and simultaneously hit the brake with the left in an emergency.

    • I think you’re right, Tim: it’s got to be faster.

      At some point some self-appointed expert decreed that right-footed braking is what we will all do. I wonder why. Was there ever any evidence in support of this? It would be interesting to find out. I kind of suspect it was just the opinion of some guy. But what do I know?

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