My Husband Misses the Brake - and says it's OK...

QUESTION

Hello John,

My husband (who has a clean driving record) has recently occasionally started to miss the brake pedal and consequently press the accelerator, which has been somewhat scary. 

He tells me that he pivots his foot between the accelerator and the brake, and has always done so. I have always lifted my foot between pedals. I have tried his pivoting but the accelerator is lower than the brake (even more so when driving) and my foot (shorter than his ) just bumps into the side of the brake when I try to pivot. 

Is pivoting OK? I think it's dangerous. What is your advice to my husband? 

Thanks,

Betty

PS, love listening to you on Radio 2UE.

ANSWER

Hi Betty,

Thanks for the kind words regarding hearing me on Radio 2UE. 

My advice to your husband is:

IT'S NOT OK TO MISS THE BRAKES! NOT EVEN "OCCASIONALLY". CERTAINLY NOT BECAUSE "I'VE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY". MISSING THE BRAKE PEDAL - EVEN ONCE - IS A MONUMENTAL WAKE-UP CALL. LIKE: "HI, THIS IS REALITY CALLING - YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING REALLY WRONG. CHANGE YOUR GAME OTHERWISE YOU'LL KILL SOMEONE. IT'S DANGEROUS, PIG-HEADED AND PATHALOGICAL TO THINK THIS IS OKAY. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO SAY WHEN YOU KILL SOMEONE? THAT'S NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE?

Now that I have that off my chest ... and it was therapeutic ... this is a scary situation. Men think they are all exceptional drivers. Missing the brake is very serious. In a critical situation, there might not be a second chance. (Think: dead kid.) There's no excuse for missing the brake. None. Excusing it away is pathalogical and undignified. Certainly 'but I've always done it this way' won't wash. If he's missing the brake, even occasionally, he needs to change what he's doing. 

You need to lift your foot to get from the accelerator to the brake (because the brake is higher than the accelerator). You need to lift your heel off the floor to do this properly.

He needs to make sure his seating position is right, and if he can't get his foot off the ground properly, he needs to see a physio or change his driving position. If you sit too far forward it gets harder and harder to lift your foot back. 

Missing the brake pedal is a monumental wake-up call: he's doing something wrong. It's not ok. Not ok now, not next week, not even infrequently, not even when Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard kiss and make up.

Once again, thanks for listening on 2UE.

Best regards,

John Cadogan