Should you brake with your left foot in an AT?

Is it a viable practice?
by Jason Tulio | Oct 20, 2017

Back in the day most cars had three pedals: One to operate the clutch, one to slow the car down, and another to make it go zoom-zoom all over the place. Conventional road-going wisdom has always taught us to use our left foot to work the clutch, and alternate our right foot between the brake and accelerator. 

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Nowadays though, you're more likely to find just two pedals in a car's footwell, thanks to the increasing popularity of automatic transmissions. The natural progression when driving automatics, then, is to just use our right foot while the left one chills out on the side. But with no clutch to worry about, wouldn't it make sense to use your left foot instead to operate the brakes?

Left-foot braking, in case you didn't know, is actually used quite often in motorsports to keep a car balanced while applying power. In some cases, like in go-karts, the pedals are laid out in such a way that you have no choice but to brake with your left foot. So that's all well and good when you're on the track, but is it suitable for use on the road? 

To be honest, there's no clear-cut answer to this. After all, it's not illegal to brake with your left foot in an automatic. But there are some strong arguments against it. For one, your foot might not have the developed sensitivity to pull it off, especially when you're used to manuals. Switching back to manual once you're used to left-foot braking, then, would be just as hard. 

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There's also the argument that you might end up pressing on both pedals at once. Done lightly, you risk premature wear-and-tear on your pads and discs, as well as being that annoying guy whose brake lights constantly flicker on and off. Stomp on both pedals at the same time, and you might find yourself on the wrong end of an accident.

Still, there are motorists who practice this habit everyday. I've personally seen a motorist do it in Jakarta (where congestion is as bad as here), with the argument that using both feet is less tiring than switching your right one back and forth. What do you guys think? Is left-foot braking in an automatic car on the road a big no-no? Or do you think it has its advantages? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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