Left Foot Braking (in normal driving)

Curious… How many other karters started driving their cars / trucks (if automatics) solely using their left foot for braking after starting karting?

While it’s near impossible with my old Corrado since the three pedals are too close together (and I have big feet), it’s great with the Outback and Touareg. I find it really helps develop that instinct over the normal right foot braking, plus much better reaction times in general. It does annoy my wife though… :slight_smile:

I can’t. It feels wierd. Also makes my spouse nervous because I end up being all race-y with throttle/brake.

Having to move right foot from throttle to brake means I drive more casually if that makes sense.

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I started karting well before I started road driving, so when I went to start my actual road test lessons, I was left-foot braking, trail-braking, and charging every corner entry. My mom refused to go driving with me after the first time. She couldn’t appreciate how I was managing the friction circle and allowing the Grand Cherokee to properly transfer the weight to the front end before I throttled out of the apex.

It feels so weird left-foot braking in a street car in normal stop-and-go conditions. Way too sensitive.

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:joy: Right in the feels. My wife says to me, “Your racing makes you a crappy driver.”

It does feel odd keeping left foot still on dead pedal, though.

I just got my permit, and I started learning how to drive in a 67 chevelle, so I needed my left foot for the clutch. I find it best as a new driver to right foot brake, so I don’t get into a race mood/mindset. Some cars also have extremely sensitive brake lights, so resting your foot on the brake lightly will turn them on which can be confusing for other drivers. I did however get to Have some fun and used my left foot to break in an f type at an abandoned parking lot and I’m better at controlling the brakes with My left foot.

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This is a power move for a 21st century teen. I hope the rest of the yoots recognize how utterly cool that is! I was born in 69 for reference.
@E13 are you aware of heel/toe technique for manual clutch cars? Kind of pointless in regular driving but fun to learn.

I have a similar story. I had only just started racing, but that’s still the only driving experience I had. I knew to only drive using my right foot, but I was hurling that 06 Honda Odyssey around our neighborhood with no clue as to why that wasn’t how we were supposed to drive.

I remember my dad going “Dude take it easy, you don’t need to drive that aggressively around a corner” and me responding with “That is taking it easy around the corner though!”

My parents were not happy with my driving for a while.

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My first car was a 71 Chevelle. Still have it after 18+ years. It’s in my will to be passed down to my daughter should it ever come to that.

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I use my left foot if im doing skids or to brake load the engine in winter. Otherwise I end up putting the family through the windscreen because my left foot is used to non servo assisted brakes :smiley:

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Done right it’s nicer on syncros and clutch… So there’s that. I use it whenever I drive a manual, it’ just too much fun to not.

I am very lucky to able to drive cars like that. My grandad has a large collection of old gm cars. Easy to learn stick when you have infinite torque. The chevelle is actually my dads, he built it for drag racing. I can heal toe on a simulator, but probably not irl. I’ve never tried it. Now I have to convince him to let me drive his 64 vette.

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Funnily im actually the opposite sort of. I started off pretty cautiously and on the slow side. I do live in a large city so I do have to be aggressive. Karting has helped with being aggressive on the road

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I tracked cars before I ever raced karts. One of my first cars was a 69’ Valiant (still have it) which had an issue with the carb that would make the car stall sometimes if you got off the gas. So I got used to left foot braking (LFB) just so I could apply a small amount of throttle to stop the car from stalling when coming to a stop. I have only tracked FWD cars, so LFB was a great way to have a bit of extra control of the car and as I was use to it due to the Valiant.
Jumping into karts, as I race rentals, I have had to unlearn LFB, as the karts have a fuel cut when the brake is applied, so it is slower to do so.
EDIT: regarding heel-toe I do this every time I drive a manual. My father raced a bit as an young adult, even getting into a bit of open wheeler stuff before one of his best mates died in an open wheeler crash. Anyway, he would always heel-toe while driving, and I always thought it smoothed out the driving (and sounded cool). So, when I first started to learn to drive manual it was a skill I focused on and has become second nature to rev match as I’m dirving.

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I brake with my left foot, but I wouldn’t exactly recommend it for all drivers. I guess it depends on style. I drive an automatic, but I always switch it over to manual and use the paddle shifters. Left foot braking can be helpful though if you need to stop quickly, since you don’t need to transition your right foot from the gas to the brake. It can help you stop 70ft sooner braking with left than if you did with right. However, it can be VERY uncomfortable just holding your left foot over the brake all the time and you may accidently brake when holding the left foot over the brake.

If you really want to brake with the left foot, I’d only use it in high traffic areas where you need to brake a lot, like in traffic jams and roads with many turns. No reason holding your left foot mindlessly while on the highway.

Left foot braking is mainly for the race track, but you can use in regular driving as well if you want, just do it if your comfortable.

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I agree that left foot braking may not be for everyone. It does reduce your reaction time though, so I always cover the brake in intersections and other potential problem areas.

Thankfully I was doing this early this year when a car drove full-speed through a red light that had been that way for at least 4 seconds (I assume they just were not paying attention). They were in the far lane of a 10 lane road blocked from view by several large trucks. I was already half way across the intersection when they caught my eye and I laid into the brake, missing them by at most a couple of inches. If I had been accelerating with my right foot and then had to move it to the brake, that extra time would have resulted in a certain collision.

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Dang glad your okay! But yeah, thats why I picked up left foot braking (also cause I wanted to, you know, look more like a legit driver lol), when roads are busy, left foot braking can save lives, but only do left braking if you’re comfortable

I drove cars for far too long before I drove karts (24 years) to be able to effectively adapt to left foot braking in a car. I can do it in the middle of really long sweepers if I need to re-set the front and don’t want to lift (driving a 911) but driving a proper, old school, manual transmission car means I’m pretty limited in my left foot brake situations anyhow.

Tried and tried and tried on the simulator to get better with my left foot but it just doesn’t have the touch, yet i seem to be able to have plenty of feel in the kart which is just odd.

Race car drivers who race a manual usually use heel toe braking, but some drivers use left foot braking when they don’t need to downshift. Takes time to get used to, especially since you’re probably used to using the clutch and the brake is much more sensitive than the clutch. I accidently slammed the brakes a couple of times when I first tried left foot braking lol

It’s just a nice tool to have, not necessary, but can be useful

Honestly, I can’t left foot brake.

It just doesn’t feel right and I’m always concerned I’ll put too much brake effort. I feel I can regulate brake pressure better with right foot.

For me as well. In a regular car, I never brake with my left foot since I have a clutch. The times I do try to brake with left, my heads crushes the windshield… :wink:

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