- 1. Car Pedal Types
- 2. Driving an Automatic Transmission or Manual Transmission Car
- 3. Benefits of Driving with Two Feet
- 4. Downsides of Driving with Two Feet
- 5. Pros of Driving with One Foot
- 6. Cons of Driving with One Foot
- 7. Legal Considerations You Should Know
- 8. Tips for Driving a Car Safely
- 9. FAQs
You might have come across different materials explaining how you should drive a car. Some claim you should drive with one foot while others claim that you should use both.
So, is it illegal to use both feet while driving?
It is not illegal to drive a car with both feet when it is an automatic car. It is not against the law to do so as there is no law prohibiting you from using two feet while driving an automatic car.
However, there can be some pros and cons to using two feet for an automatic transmission car.
We look at the various car pedal types, when you should use two feet, and when one foot is enough to drive the car with ease.
Car Pedal Types
It might seem like common knowledge, but you should know that a car has two or three pedals depending on the type of transmission.
An automatic car will have only two pedals including the accelerator and brake. The manual transmission car will have a clutch, brake, and accelerator pedal.
The difference in the number of pedals determines how you can drive the car with ease.
Having three pedals means you should always drive with two feet. However, that is not the same thing when driving an automatic transmission vehicle.
Pedals in a manual and automatic car
Driving an Automatic Transmission or Manual Transmission Car
Many cars on our roads right now are automatic transmission cars. Since such cars do not have a clutch pedal for changing the gears, there will be a dead pedal where you can rest your left foot while driving.
So, you would only be driving using the right foot. When you let off the foot from the accelerator, it should go to the brake pedal.
Well, considering that the car automatically shifts its gears, then there is no need to drive the car with two feet.
The dead pedal you get in a car is mostly solid rubber. It just helps you rest the left leg as the right leg does the job.
You also have to think of the manual transmission car too. This type of car would have three pedals. The pedals include the clutch, brake, and accelerator.
As you can see, you definitely need both feet. This time around, the left foot will operate the clutch pedal.
If you have been driving a manual transmission car for a while, you might sometimes forget yourself and try to shift gears only to find there is no clutch pedal.
However, it is not a big deal as your brain can switch to driving an automatic transmission with ease if you often do it.
Benefits of Driving with Two Feet
Driving with two feet seems like the right way, but for an automatic transmission car, that might not always be the case.
Maybe looking at the pros and cons of driving with two feet might help you understand which would be the ideal way of doing it.
Better reaction time
When you are using two feet, it means that you do not need to think about moving the right foot from the accelerator to the brake.
All you have to do is lift off your foot from the accelerator and press the brake pedal with your left leg.
It could be a better way of improving your reaction time. For some people, it could be the difference between getting into an accident or surviving one altogether.
Manual car drivers find it easier
Remember we had mentioned earlier how it can be a habit to try and shift gears in a manual transmission car.
However, when you use both feet in an automatic transmission car, it becomes like a normal habit you have been doing so for a while.
You will essentially not need to break a habit when you are used to driving a manual car.
Fewer mistakes and less confusion
It happens sometimes that when you want to brake, suddenly you see the car accelerating. This is not something you want to experience especially in emergency situations.
That is why driving with two feet can help keep this problem minimal since each leg would have a pedal to control.
Downsides of Driving with Two Feet
There are several benefits to driving with two feet as mentioned above. However, are there any downsides to this?
Knowing these potential cons can help you see if driving an automatic transmission with two feet would be a bad idea.
Poor fuel economy
When the left leg is not resting on the dead pedal, then it means you could be riding the brakes. You might only be putting slight pressure on the brake pedal, but remember that you would also be accelerating too.
Braking all the time would not be good for the car’s fuel economy. You should not continue driving this way for a long time as you can easily end up refueling the car more often than you what you would want.
Brakes wear prematurely
When you keep riding the brake, the fuel economy is not the only thing you have to worry about. Some think that putting their foot on the brake lightly while driving is okay, but that is not the case.
Keep doing this long enough and you may have to change the brake pads. We recommend that you use one foot while driving an automatic transmission car to avoid wearing the brakes faster.
Risk of pushing the two pedals at once
As much as it might not always happen, sometimes drivers can panic in an emergency to the point they end up pressing the two pedals at the same time.
Racing car drivers while racing might have to do this, but under normal driving conditions, this is unnecessary. This is because the brakes will not be as effective because of the more power from the engine.
Pros of Driving with One Foot
While attending a driving school, you will be advised to use one foot while driving an automatic transmission car.
It is a safe practice when you only use one foot to control your right foot to control the brake and accelerator. That is why we look at the pros of driving with one foot.
Less pedal confusion
A new driver needs the right guideline when learning how to drive a car. This is because sometimes there is pedal confusion. Imagine a driver has been told to use the left foot for the clutch and now he or she is supposed to use the same for the brake.
Mixing up instructions can easily pedal confusion and you might not know which is the right foot to use.
Less wear and tear on brakes
It is always nice to consider the brake wear. There is no need to keep replacing the brake pads and lining when it can be avoided. When you use one foot, you will not have to keep riding the brakes. This is because you will have your foot on either the accelerator or brake.
Improved fuel economy
You can potentially see that it also becomes easier to have better fuel economy because you are not resting your foot on the brake pedal. As such, you are not creating unnecessary resistance to the flow of the car.
When you can only brake when necessary, you can realize that there is better fuel economy. No more stopping at the gas station all the time to get a refill.
Cons of Driving with One Foot
It might seem like the best way to save your brakes and fuel, but is there a downside to driving with one foot? Should you do so more often?
Below are some of the potential downsides a person can face with driving with one foot.
Potentially hitting the wrong pedal
You might think this is impossible, but it does happen. This is because of how close the brake and accelerator pedals can be and in moments of emergency, you could hit the wrong pedal.
Also, learner drivers are likely to make such mistakes. It is best to do more driving with one foot to get versed with the location of the pedals to avoid hitting the wrong pedal.
Can be confusing for manual car drivers
Manual car drivers can often find themselves trying to change gears but there is no clutch. This is because they are also used to driving with two feet, so driving with one foot seems so different and can get confusing sometimes.
Response time can be slower
Of course, the response time is very important in terms of emergencies. That is why using one foot can sometimes be slower. This is because you have to move the foot from the accelerator to the brake.
Take note that this can generally vary from one person to another. Some people might still be just as fast even with one foot.
Legal Considerations You Should Know
There is no law saying that you should exclusively drive with one or two feet. It mostly depends on your training and personal preference.
Looking at the various details discussed above, you can see that each method would have pros and cons.
So it might likely depend on what works for you. However, it is generally advisable to drive an automatic transmission car using one foot.
You may have noticed that different car manufacturers will have a dead pedal in an automatic car. This is a further reason why you should generally drive using one foot. It is quite safer to drive this way.
Tips for Driving a Car Safely
Driving a car safely is key in ensuring that you are safe on the road and also keeping other road users safe. Here is how to do it;
- Have a proper mindset for being on the road in the first place. This means you pay attention and focus on what is happening on the road.
- Make sure you use the pedals correctly including how well you position your feet to avoid pedal confusion.
- When you are driving an automatic car, we recommend that you only use your right foot. That should be enough to drive the car correctly.
- In the case of a manual car, you should consider using both feet. Of course, it is the only way you can actually drive a manual car.
- You should make use of the brakes only when needed. You should not always ride the brakes. This will lead to the brakes wearing out fast.
Here is a video with more tips on how to drive safely
Different people are likely to have different ways of driving a car. Some can consider driving with both feet while others would just do it.
Of course, a manual car would need both feet while an automatic car only needs one foot and you should be good. Each method of driving will have pros and cons.
That is why you should always consider them in depth so that you only settle for a method that makes you a better driver.
Should you drive using both feet?
This is highly recommended for those driving a manual car. However, an automatic transmission car does not need the same.
Will it be illegal to drive using both feet in the US?
No. There are no legal ramifications to driving with both feet in the US. Just make sure you are driving properly to avoid causing accidents.
Should you use both feet during a driving test?
So far, you will not find a law stating that you cannot drive with two feet during a driving test. However, you are likely to make more mistakes when you drive using both feet in an automatic car.
Do you have a fast response time while driving with two feet?
Some people often have a faster response time, but that is not always the case. Nevertheless, you can also have a fast response time by driving with one foot.