Well in this article I could start-up many discussions/arguments on this either way but I was taught by my father to be a two footed driver. Our logic is that the right foot operates the gas and the left foot operates the brakes separately. We have always felt in our humble opinion that doing it this way increases the reaction time especially when the brakes are needed for sudden stops.
This is very helpful especially when in bumper to bumper traffic or when in rainy/bad conditions when a split second decision can be so important. We feel that having your left foot hovering over/next to brake pedal during these conditions again can only increase your reaction time! Most people will instruct you to use only one foot for both of these pedals and believe me there is nothing wrong with this approach.
Since you might be taught to use only one foot by a driving instructor or your parents well I am not trying to start a fight of logic here with them, like where you put your hands on the steering wheel well it’s your call!
So let’s start with the brake pedal as its most often the most important of the two pedals.
Sounds pretty stupid as to when to use this pedal you might be thinking but it’s for slowing down or stopping right? Well you would be surprised at all the idiots that want to ride their brakes for no reason what so ever by lightly holding their foot on the brake pedal.
We (us smart drivers!) know this is going on as when following these people their brake lights are always on which keeps us guessing if they are preparing for a stop or turn…I hate these types. When you first head out to start learning how to use your brake/gas pedals you will learn quickly how these pedals react to the amount of pressure you apply to them.
Pressing down hard/slamming on the brake pedal and you risk throwing you (and your parent) through the windshield and likewise if you do not apply enough pressure your stopping distance becomes way too long running into whatever is in front of you. So first get used to this important event as you learn how the car reacts to your actions.
Obviously your brakes are for stopping but just as important they are used for keeping you a safe distance from the cars in front of you but we will discuss this further in article — Tailgating.
After a while you will get used to how the car reacts when you apply the brakes regardless of the amount of pressure so don’t worry you will get the hang of it shortly. Here are a couple other things in regards to using the brakes that might come in helpful while you are out driving.
Brake to Warn Others
First when going over rough bumps such as railroad tracks don’t hold down the brakes as this can often times damage them. A real cool thing to use your brake pedal for is alerting the drivers behind you that something is happening in front of you that they might not be able to see or that you are getting ready to stop/turn.
It’s a feature called the “early warning sensor” as by lightly tapping your brakes a couple times sets off the brake lights on the rear of your car bumper/back windshield and that gives drivers behind you a heads up that something is getting ready to happen! Great thing to do when traffic is out of nowhere coming to a screeching halt and car behind you is riding your tail, well doing this avoids countless rear end accidents.
Also heads up if you hear any type of grinding noise when you are using the brakes to come to a stop, if you hear this noise take your car immediately to a mechanic as there is trouble brewing with your brakes! When you do find yourself having to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident you will be welcomed to the world of “skidding” and it’s not a fun world.
Anti Lock Brakes
However over the years modern technology has caught up with car manufacturers and they have developed a real neat thing called the Anti-Lock Braking System or often times referred to as ABS. You can look up its detailed definition through Google/Bing but for a quick overview it helps you when situations like this develop.
What it does is it allows you to hold down firmly the brake pedal and this system helps to avoid your brakes from locking up. Somehow the car is so smart that it knows to slow down and keeps the tires ‘rolling” which allows you to steer the car something you cannot do if you were “sliding”.
Real kind of technical stuff here that is over my head so again go on-line for more information but regardless it’s a great thing to have on your car! Now for the gas pedal and this section will not be as long as my description of the brakes which might have put you to sleep so wake up!
Gas or Accelerator Pedal
The use of the gas pedal is very similar as to what I explained about the brakes and how things will feel when you first start learning to drive a car. Jumping on the gas as we call it (applying way too much pressure too quickly) can almost cause whiplash on your and your parent’s necks as you take off from a standing still position.
Trust me the first time you do it you will quickly learn how much pressure you need to get the car moving. Over time just like with the brakes you will get the hang of it so don’t worry it will come to you as second nature.
Obviously letting off the gas will slow your car down without the brakes being applied and you will again get used to this while driving around as you juggle between the gas and brake pedal use. Now for some closing thoughts/comments on the use of the pedals while you drive as they effect the overall operation of your car.
Jack Rabbit Starts
Let’s begin with what we call “Jack Rabbit Starts” and this occurs when you are stopped at say a traffic light and when light turns green you jump all over the gas pedal in a attempt to go from zero miles per hour to 70 mph, real stupid thing for several reasons.
First the police love to go after these kinds of drivers for potential speeding tickets as you are a threat to others including yourself and only have a potential ticket waiting on you or even a wreck. Also in these times of paying the gas prices that we pay well jumping on the gas like this decreases your gas mileage greatly and you are not really gaining anything by doing this time wise.
Lastly the wear on your cars transmission is incredible and only one that this helps is your local mechanic.
Driving nice and easy when starting and stopping will be learned over time and should be your ultimate goal, something you will learn as you grow older, be assured! One last area for you to consider and do is to plan ahead as to what is happening in front of you, many times at a great distance. While out driving and in the distance you see an upcoming traffic light changing from green to red well it makes zero sense to keep going a current speed only to have to slam on or brake hard when you approach the light that you have to stop at anyhow.
Consider letting off the gas and without disrupting the traffic flow behind you just kind of slow up as you approach the light and slowly apply brakes when coming to a stop. This helps on your brakes wear and tear as well as gas mileage overall.
Often times you will find that letting off the gas (again without effecting those behind you) by the time you approach the light it has now turned back to green and then you can lightly accelerate back up to you speed that you were at. This would also apply to when you see cars well in front of you applying their turn signals as slowing up in advance goes a long way.