Ask Honest John Question of the Week: Is left foot braking safe?

Dear Honest John,

"Is it a good idea to use left foot braking when driving on the road? I've seen various opinions but no one seems to agree on whether there is an advantage or it is actually a risk."


Dear CP,

Left-foot braking is not something that is generally taught by driving instructors and the majority of advanced drivers, including police pursuit and tactical drivers, would either not take this approach or would only do so in extreme circumstances. It is generally considered as a means of controlling the balance of a car during competitive driving such as circuit racing or rallying, therefore it is of limited use on the road.

There is an argument that left foot braking can reduce the reaction time compared to braking with the right foot, but the sensitivity required to control the brake accurately is a skill that drivers have to develop over time, and would require a good deal of practice to achieve with the left foot as it is more used to pushing the clutch pedal or remaining unused on the foot rest.

In addition, even the slightest pressure with your left foot resting on the brake will cause the pads to come into contact with the disc, which is not good for fuel economy and brake wear. Also many modern cars will automatically cut the throttle if the brake is engaged at the same time, so to avoid this you would have to drive with your left foot hovering over the brake pedal at all times.

While it is not illegal to brake with the left foot, we would suggest that it offers little or no benefit in everyday driving. There are more advantages to be gained in practicing other driving techniques such as observation, road positioning and speed management.

Ask HJ

Is a broken third brake light an MoT fail?

Can you please advise whether the below legislation is still current with regards to the third brake or high brake light? This would be for a vehicle that was first registered in 2010 . The 3rd brakelight is an 'optional lamp' and it is not obligatory under the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 (loads of cars still only have 2 after all). Only these two obligatory positional brake lights are required to be fitted and maintained. More specifically I am querying whether a driver can be stopped and fined by the police in the event the third brake light is not working but the main two brake lights are.
In respect of the MoT test, a high-level third brake light is considered optional but if one is fitted and connected it must work, so it is possible that the police could stop and fine a driver for a non-functioning third brake light as it does not meet the regulations.
Answered by David Ross
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