Is it illegal to drive with both feet? — explained
Explore the legality and consequences of driving with both feet.
Driving is a wonderful thing and a passion for most enthusiasts, but it comes with a series of rules that you go over going through driver’s education. One of the early rules you learn is to use only the right foot to pressure the gas and brake pedals.
If you are like every other driver, chances are that you’ve asked yourself – is it illegal to drive with both feet? It’s not technically illegal to drive with both feet, but it’s not recommended by traffic safety experts. Still, if it’s possible, why isn’t it a good idea? Let’s find out.
Can driving with both feet even work?
While opinions on driving with both feet differ, one thing is for sure – it doesn’t feel as natural as driving with your right foot alone. It’s not due to some old habit that we develop as drivers, there’s a reason for it. First, let’s discuss the difference between trying to drive with both feet based on the car’s transmission.
Well, drivers of manual cars drive like this all the time, only the left foot is solely used to press the clutch pedal. The clutch pedal is located on the left, so you use your right foot to press the gas pedal and the brake in a manual car.
Whenever you aren’t using the clutch pedal for gear shifts, you can place your left foot on the footrest. However, automatic transmission vehicles don’t use the clutch pedal since the gears are shifted with a help of a torque converter and there’s no need for the third pedal.
So, the matter of driving with one foot placed on the brake, while the other one pressures the accelerator gets somewhat realistic in an automatic vehicle. However, the sitting position is the main problem here. If you try doing this in a controlled environment and at low speed, you’ll quickly realize it’s not as logical as it sounds.
Problems of driving with both feet
The thing is – the brake pedal is placed in the same position regardless of the vehicle’s transmission type. It’s at the center of the footwell, slightly on the left side of the gas pedal. Naturally, if you place your right foot on the gas pedal, and your left foot where the clutch should be, it suits the driver’s sitting position.
However, if you place your left foot on the brake, you’ll have to move it towards the gas pedal where your right foot is, and it simply doesn’t feel natural. You would have to slightly turn your foot in a weird position to properly press the brake. Here are some of the remaining problems of trying to drive with both feet:
- You may reduce the life span of your brakes
- It’s uncomfortable
- You might press the brake with too much force
- It’s not the best thing for your engine either
Driving with both feet makes your brakes wear faster
One of the main reasons why you shouldn’t experiment with driving with two feet is excessive wear of the brakes. If you consistently hold one foot over the brake pedal, chances are that you’ll at some point start pressuring the pedal at least slightly.
You simply won’t have anywhere else to rest the foot, since you regularly place it on the footrest when not applying the brakes. So, if you keep your foot over the brake pedal at all times, you might start riding your brakes which is never a good thing.
Not only could your brake pads wear faster, but this can also result in a warped braking disc. At this point, everything goes in vain as you’ll have to replace the brakes altogether.
You can’t drive comfortably with both feet
We already mentioned the driving position and its relation to driving with both feet. If you still try to experiment with it, you’ll quickly notice that it’s not as comfortable as it seems. Holding your foot over the brake all the time gets tiring and that position can only result in discomfort and back pain.
There’s a reason why you can only rest your left foot by placing it on a footrest area. It’s the most comfortable way of driving and you’ll especially feel discomfort when trying to drive with two feet on a longer route. On top of that, it’s forbidden in some states, so it’s much like the matter of whether is it illegal to drive without a shirt. It depends on local regulations, but we still don’t recommend it as a driving technique (unless you are a racecar driver).
You won’t have proper control over the brake pedal
Let’s face it – although the idea of driving with two feet seems intriguing, it’s not the way you learned to drive in the first place. Using your right foot to press the brake and gas pedals will get you used to that style of driving.
So, you’ll notice how you don’t have much control over the brake pedal if you try pressing it with your left foot. Regardless of how hard you try to figure out the way to drive with both feet, it simply won’t work and it might get dangerous even though it’s not illegal.
Pressing the brake with the left foot will likely either result in too much pressure being applied to the brake, or pressing the brake too lightly.
Don’t do it to keep your engine alive
Constantly holding your left foot over the brake pedal will sometimes trigger riding the brake even if you aren’t aware of it. If your braking system is well-serviced, it should respond even on slight pressure being applied to the pedal.
Of course, your right foot being on the accelerator will cause the engine to struggle to keep optimal speed and overcome the braking pressure. So, it’s not the best thing to do if you think about your engine’s performance.
When does it make sense to drive with both feet?
While it’s not the best idea to use the left foot on the brake and the right foot on the gas pedal, you have to drive with both feet if you have a manual transmission car. Of course, you’d be applying pressure to the clutch with your left foot in this case, and it’s still dangerous to try skipping it and pressing the brake.
On the other hand, Formula 1 and racing drivers often drive with both feet. Their left foot is placed above the brake, but it’s a unique situation. They can optimize cornering performance by pressing the brake and pumping the gas to pull out through the corner with both their feet placed on the pedals.
It’s still not advisable to do it if you are just a daily commuter, as you’ll likely hurt your brakes and there’s nothing good that could come out of it.
Well, this guide hopefully settles the matter behind the question of “is it illegal to drive with both feet” and gives you a few solid reasons not to try this yourself. It’s just not the way the pedals and the footwell were designed, and you should stick with the regular driving technique.
However, it’s up to every driver to decide what works best as driving with both feet isn’t illegal, as long as you aren’t putting everyone else on the road in danger.
Why can’t you use two feet to drive?
You can’t use two feet to drive as it wouldn’t be safe due to the sitting position and the position of the brake pad in the center of the footwell which prevents you from using the left foot on the brake as efficiently as using the right foot on the gas pedal.
Can you use both feet to drive an automatic car?
You can use both feet to drive an automatic car, but it’s still not safe or comfortable to do so.
Is left-foot braking illegal?
Left-foot braking isn’t illegal, and even racing drivers use this technique when taking corners. However, it’s not the safest way of driving according to many traffic safety experts.