Auto box technique - Darcy (ominous) Kitchin
I've just read HJ's column in the Telegraph and I refer to the chap who lost control of his Rover 620 auto when reversing. This happened to me in a Merc 280CE auto. Fortunately the casualty was a teracotta flower pot and not another vehicle. Mum spoke some harsh words (it was her car) quite justifiably. Nobody likes having their driving skill criticised and it was worse coming from her.

It set me thinking that the movement of the car backwards and the inertia of the right foot would press the throttle more and would certainly make any car surge unless the driver was prepared for it.

Since then I use this method when manoeuvring in a car with an auto 'box. Before engaging gear, press the brake firmly with the left foot to lock all the wheels, then you don't get that clonk as the torque convertor tries to move the car against the handbrake. Still pressing the brake, set the revs to about 1200 or a fast tickover, then release the brake gently, like a conventional clutch. If the car sets off too quickly, you don't have to change pedals to brake, you just "declutch" and the car is under complete control in nanoseconds.

I don't want to enter into any Ripleyesque arguments about which foot to use on which pedal, it seems to work for me, and might for others.
Re: Auto box technique - Stuart B
I'd agree with that technique Darcy, and as you say at low speeds its just like working the clutch, good description that never thought of it before.

Whats the ominous for, not had a call out from sis in law? Take the entire garage contents!
Re: Auto box technique - Darcy (ominous) Kitchin
Stuart

Martyn our BRM said I'd posted "ominously", I might even adopt "ominous" as a nom de plume.

Sis in law well under control by new jet-setting boyfriend.
Re: Auto box technique - RogerL
I don't understand why you need to left-foot brake an automatic. I've been driving autos now for 12 years after 23 years with manuals. When I want to reverse I just put right foot on brake, select reverse and gradually remove right foot from brake pedal; the car then just goes backwards. If the ECU increases the engine idle speed, I just apply more brake pressure with my right foot. Anyone whose foot slips onto the accelerator is just as likely to do this with disastrous results on a manual as an automatic.
Re: Auto box technique - David Millar
I find it equally difficult to understand why all automatic drivers do not left foot brake. I first adopted the technique when young and impressionable and found that SAAB rally drivers used it routinely in the 96s and 95s fitted with a freewheel gearbox. In my bog standard 95, it allowed clutchless gear changes.

When, after years of believing autoboxes were for wimps, I acquired first a Peugeot 604 banger with auto and then a very rare auto Lancia Coupe, I discovered that acquiring the habit of left foot braking eliminates the already highlighted risk of pedal confusion. The pedal area can be very cramped in some cars and modern fashion sometimes dictates we wear chunkier footwear. It just seems so much safer to left foot brake and avoid any risk of confusion. It's quickly picked up and I do not find any difficulties with getting the brake application pressure right when switching regularly from manual to automatic.

David
Re: Auto box technique - Ian (cape town)
Ok, Left-foot brakers!
PLEASE keep your foot OFF the brake pedal when driving - don't ride it, like some people do with a clutch.
There is nothing worse than a bloke in front riding along with hi brake lights on, because of the slight pressure on the pedal...
Re: Auto box technique - Charles
Ian (cape town) wrote:
>
> Ok, Left-foot brakers!
> PLEASE keep your foot OFF the brake pedal when driving -
> don't ride it, like some people do with a clutch.
> There is nothing worse than a bloke in front riding along
> with hi brake lights on, because of the slight pressure on
> the pedal...
Totally agree Ian - when I drive an auto I only use my right foot for exactly the reason you describe above.

Regards

Charles
Re: Auto box technique - Honest John
On day, Roger, you'll find out why. I just hope nobody dies.

HJ
Re: Auto box technique - John Kenyon
I'm with HJ.
I started to use left foot braking with a hire car in the US.
Made for much smoother progress, especially when pulling away from
traffic lights.

Having said that, if anything out of the ordinary happened, I reverted
to type and used the right foot - 8 years of driving manual cars makes
it a difficult habit to break.

/john
Re: Auto box technique - David Millar
I would own up to sitting at traffic lights sometimes with the brake pedal down but probably less than a lot of drivers with manual boxes, and I consciously try not to do it. But I don't let my foot hang around on a manual clutch either. I seldom see anyone driving above 5mph with the brake light on permanently so I am not convinced this is a problem.

Left foot braking may be difficult to adjust to at first but I find it's easy after a while. And, yes, in an emergency stop it is the left foot that I use. Back in a manual, it's back to the right.
 

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