brake pedal design

Started by denise 20352, March 28, 2006, 03:02:20 PM

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denise 20352

  Can someone tell me why carmakers put the brake pedal so far behind the gas pedal, so that the driver has to pull his foot back and around the pedal to get to it?  Some cars are so bad that you have to do an abdominal crunch to get your foot back there.  And since they put a big wide pedal on a post in the middle, there is a tendency for your foot to get caught behind it.  Im just wondering, with all of the safety research that theyve done, has anyone stopped to think that it might be dangerous?

  I almost ran into a car while I was backing up in the truck today.  A driver who turned in behind me didnt feel the need to slow down when entering a parking lot.  I saw him in time, but my foot hooked on the back side of the brake pedal, and I almost wasnt able to stop.


Rhino 21150

I have always thought the pedals should be the other way around: The gas closer so if your foot slips it hits the brakes. Some sports models have them the same height for heel and toe work when starting a car up a hill (straight drive). Fiats (not sports cars) are like that.
If you are really concerned about this problem, remove the pedal and have a torch person heat and bend the pedal bracket. I did that in a Fairlane, but I had the colleges torch to play with. DONT DO IT IN THE CAR! Just kidding.
Car makers cant take everything into account when they design them. They overlook the fact that people age (at different rates) and most designers are young. They lose their creativity and willingness to keep going after a while.
Supposedly (told to me by a VERY old person) the brake pedal sits higher to remind you to lift your foot off the gas before hitting the brake. My old La Salle has an amazing amount of engine braking, the Cavalier does not.

Fred Garfield 22310

In close encounters of the automotive kind, a fraction of a second can make a big difference.

In an automatic, I always drive with my left foot just touching the brake pedal and my right on the gas pedal. Try it. Youll see how much simpler (and safer) life-on-the-road becomes.

Rhino 21150

Ive seen WAY toO many people drive like that. Their taillights flash on and off incessantly. Its dangerous and illegal in most states. If you must drive like that please connect an extra lamp on the dash to the brake circuit to remind you that yes you have pressed the pedal again. I had a friend who SWORE she never pushed the pedal. I hooked up the light and she told me I hooked it up wrong, it was on all the time! Then one day her car swerved violently into oncoming traffic. No one was hurt! She got it towed and the mechanic said he had never seen an aluminum brake caliper WELD ITSELF TO THE DISK. You simply CANNOT keep your foot in that position for more than a few mintues.

Roger A. Zimmermann #21015

Usually to have the left foot ready to push the brake pedal is no good, specially for people driving also vehicles with mechanical transmissions: the left foot has a "memory" and is accustomed to push way down on a clutch pedal. On an automatic equipped vehicle, its the best way to do a panic brake and be rearended!

According to a GM engineer, the difference in position between the brake pedal and the gaz pedal is to protect people to push on the wrong pedal. This was specially true with the early front drive vehicles when no tunnel was there to give the right foot a position. When brake and gaz pedals are more or less at the same height, the right foot can push on the gaz and the driver think he is on the brake. This was one of the reasons for the sudden accelerations in the seventies.
On a competition or sport vehicle, it is assumed that the driver knows what he is doing. Therefore, the height is more or less the same.

denise 20352

   It may just be a matter of what youre used to, but I dont think that using the left foot on the brake would work for me.  I spent some time driving a stick when I was young, and I have that muscle memory in my feet.  When its time to slam on the brakes very quickly, it has to happen automatically.

   Bending the brake pedal back might just work.   Is it OK to use the torch inside the car if I put down some newspaper to protect the carpet?  ;)


Fred Garfield 22310

To all - Ive used this technique for most of my adult life and never had a problem. When Im on the road, I always assume that every other driver is a drunken maniac. If a car is too close to my cars rear, I get away from him fast, even if I have to pull over to the side of the road or freeway and stop. In more than 30 years of doing all this, none of the bizarre things mentioned here have ever happened to me but I sure have avoided a lot of potential collisions. Some drivers can employ this method successfully and others, who arent aware that theyre depressing the brake pedal, should stay away from it.

Rhino 21150

The newspaper is a fabulous idea if you use a fire extinguisher as the bending fulcrum. A pressurized CO2 type is best.

denise 20352

  Fire extinguisher?  Whats that?

  I managed to really impress Tony last year.  I was showing him how an arc welder could be used to cut metal.  I turned up the power and cut easily through a piece of bar, really impressed with myself until I realized that I had set a plastic trash can on fire.  Yes, you can cut a piece of metal off with an arc welder, but you have to be careful where it falls.  ;)


David #19063

I had a rental Expedition last Winter for a month.  Those pedals seemed to be even in height and too close together for size 12 shoes.

At least twice a day, when I would step on the brake, I caught the gas pedal too with the edge of my shoe and it would press down with the brake pedal.  This would happen when pulling up to stop or backing out of a parking spot.

Very annoying and it nearly caused two close calls.