Left-foot braking is a technique commonly used on racetracks, but is it it okay to use it on the street? This video from Team O’Neil lays everything out.
The short answer is, yes, it is. In fact, Team O’Neil instructor Wyatt Knox has five good reasons to left-foot brake on the street.
The first reason is that it’s more likely that you’ll hit the correct pedal. In an emergency situation, it’s easy to hit the wrong pedal without thinking. Having your left foot already over the brake minimizes the chance of a mistake.
On a related note, the second reason to left-foot brake on the street is that it reduces response time in an emergency. It takes less time to start braking when your left foot is hovering over the pedal than it does to move your right foot from the throttle to brake.
Team O’Neil Drift School Ford Mustang (screenshot)
Conversely, reason three is that left-braking allows you to keep your right foot hovering over the throttle at all times, making it easier to accelerate and avoid a potential dangerous situation.
Keeping one foot over each pedal also allows for more precise application of both brakes and throttle. Again, it’s about economy of motion. Instead of having to move your right foot and get it situated over the pedal, you’re just making small adjustments. That allows for smoother throttle and brake application.
The final reason is that left-foot braking smooths out weight transfer. Weight tends to shift toward the back when a car accelerates, and toward the front when a car brakes. Abrupt weight transfer can upset the car’s balance, but left-foot braking allows for overlap of pedal applications, helping to smooth that out.
As with any driving technique, left-foot braking takes practice, so it’s probably not a good idea to try it on public roads unless you have it down pat. Watch the full video for more tips.