Left-foot braking is widely used in the racing world for two reasons. The first one doesn’t really apply to the average driver, but we’ll be happy to tell you why. When races are won and lost by mere milliseconds, professional drivers have taught themselves to find every possible advantage to eliminate lost time. One way is to use the left for braking. Why? When the driver needs to slow, their foot is ready to brake. When they need to go, their right foot is ready to accelerate. This eliminates the time spent moving their right foot from brake to gas pedal.
The second reason, the one that pertains to all of us, and one that really counts, is that left-foot braking gives the driver greater control over their vehicles’ weight, inertia and kinetic energy. The sooner you can shift a vehicles weight from forward to back, and vise versa the sooner you are controlling the direction and dynamics of the vehicle. This means greater control over braking, stopping, accelerating and turning, things you do every couple of feet you travel.
For the everyday driver who was taught the old way of driving, using the right foot to brake is from the days of driving a car with a clutch. Today, over 90% of us drive with an automatic transmission in our car. Teaching people to brake with their right foot today is old school.
If you are about to start driving then don’t get caught up in that old “The World is Flat” way of thinking – learn to brake with your left foot. The Flat Earth Society will tell you that your legs will get confused and you won’t know which leg to brake with! Horse Hockey.
• If your driving instructor doesn’t teach you left-foot braking, find one that does because they probably don’t understand vehicle dynamics and what the vehicle is doing under braking and accelerating. Any advanced driver-trainer will confirm the benefits of left-foot braking.
If you were taught to brake with your right foot and want to learn how to brake with your left foot, it is not something that is hard to learn. Simply find an empty parking lot to practice and learn the maneuver.
If you have a vehicle with an automatic transmission, practice braking with your left foot all the time. Be prepared for sudden stops or jerky stops the first time. You are training your fine muscles to learn the touch of the brake. Before venturing out on the streets make sure its become second nature to brake with your left foot.
If you have a car with a manual transmission and you want to learn to left-foot brake, start braking with your left foot and when you approach a shift point switch your braking to the right foot. You will initially be quite abrupt as your left foot is trained to be an on/off switch for the clutch pedal. With practice, you will be able to modulate the brake pedal with equal precision with either foot.
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