Because missing is more likely than forgetting which foot to use. I just don't know how much more clearly I can state this.
Just because you state something clearly does not make it correct.
That's a pretty useless point to make though since it applies to any position. A better approach might be to engage the ol noggin and think about the issue for a moment. Does anyone seriously doubt that if we were to conduct a reflex test in which people were required to push one of two buttons in front of them based on some external stimulus (a light color for example), and we divided our test into two groups, one of which was allowed to use both hands and one which was required to use only one, that the first group would perform better? And after some practice that same group would perform even more better?
Go find a console game that uses two buttons on the controller. Practice using one thumb to control both buttons. Then practice using a different thumb for each. Which one will give you better results? I could probably sit here and give you a dozen different examples in which we all know that we will react faster and more accurately if we use two different hands, feet, thumbs, etc to control two different objects than if we use just one for both. Why assume this is different when it comes to the pedals in a car?
The left foot guy, at worst will miss the brake (but not hit the gas), or press both pedals. Both of which have far less dangerous results than what can (and does every year) happen to the right foot only driver.
I love how you imagine all these wonderful unlikely ways that a normal driver could mess up and accelerate when they mean to break, and then you blatantly disregard the unlikely situations that could occur for left foot brakers.
I don't disregard either of them. I'm stating as plainly and clearly as possible that one of those things happens far more often than the other. There are hundreds of documented cases of right foot only drivers accidentally hitting the gas instead of the brake and causing an accident. How many documented cases of accidents can you find that are directly attributed to someone driving with two feet instead of one? Not someone speculating about what might happen, but accidents that actually did happen. Can you find any?
Why can't the left foot braker miss the brake and also hit the accelerator?
Sigh? Sit in your car. Plant your right heel in front of the gas pedal (like you'd normally place it). Now, lift your toes up so you are not pressing on the pedal. Now. Take your left foot and try to press the gas pedal. You can't do it. Your right foot is in the way. You'd have to literally put your left foot on top of your right foot and push it down in order to do what you're claiming could happen. It would take a **** of a miss to do that. Meanwhile, the guy operating with just his right foot just has to miss to the right a couple of inches and he can hit the gas instead of the brake (depending on how far to the left he normally positions his foot on the brake pedal of course). There's nothing in the way (other than the pedal) to tell him he's missed. He doesn't literally have to shove one leg into the other to do this. He just has to miss the pedal. Worse, since he's used to having his foot push on a pedal in that position, it's not as absolutely unfamiliar and wont have a blaring "WTF is going on" sensation associated with it. He's just pressing down on a pedal in a position his foot is used to being. The left foot driver *never* has his foot that far over. Even if he could do it, it would feel absolutely wrong.
If slipping off the brake with the right foot, which it's designed to be used by, is so common as you claim what in the world makes you believe that the left foot cannot possible miss or slip off?
Nothing. But if the left foot slips off, it's going to slip off the left side of the pedal
. If the right foot slips off, it's going to slip off to the right side of the pedal
. What is to the right side of the brake pedal? The gas. What's to the left? Floorboard.
It's like I didn't just explain this two posts ago. Sheesh!
Furthermore, simply missing the break and not hitting the gas is dangerous as well;
Not even close to as dangerous though. Assuming the odds of missing the brake are the same, one is much much worse than the other.
it's also more likely to happen since the brake is designed to be used by the right foot.
Um... No. It's not. Why would you think that? It's not like the brake pedal itself is curved in a special way, or angled in a way that makes it easier to use with either foot. It's typically a wide flatish pedal. Either foot can hit it just fine. While I'll agree that some newer cars have shifted the position closer to the gas pedal, I absolutely don't agree that this is a better configuration much less safer. The brake pedal certainly isn't "designed" to be used by the right foot though. Where did you get that idea?
You're also missing a far more significant factor than your imagined "design" of the brake pedal. Preparation. I mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating. A right foot only driver cannot "cover" the brake without taking his foot off the gas. This means that he must make a choice between one or the other, increasing the odds that his foot will be out of position to brake quickly if something unexpected happens. Meanwhile, the guy using his left foot can control the gas with his right, and when the situation calls for it, cover the brake with his left (move his foot over to the pedal, planting heel to floor in front of it, toe pointed upwards and ready to press it as needed). I do this when passing a group of slower moving cars on the freeway and when driving in parking lots. What this means is that the left foot guy can be "ready" in case something happens, without having to commit himself to a change in speed beforehand. It's much greater control of the car, and it's much safer. Depending on who you talk to, this can shave 2/10ths to 1/2 of a second off the total reaction time. Um... It also means that your foot is already in position to brake and thus there is absolutely zero chance of missing the pedal, foot slipping off, etc.
And this is all still ignoring the whole muscle memory/placement effect. When I move my left foot over to brake, I always position it in the exact same spot. Because I don't have to choose between having my foot on the gas and positioning my left foot, I have the luxury of making sure it's in the right spot before I have to start braking. My right foot is always in the same spot relative to the gas as well. Meaning that my odds of misplacing my feet are lower than someone who uses one foot for both. Edited, Aug 1st 2012 4:20pm by gbaji