Jump to content
Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
sarahsaifa

Question about driving as an RBK amputee

Recommended Posts

Hey guys,

I've been an RBK amputee pretty much my whole life so I'm probably more comfortable in my prosthesis than the average amputee. However I'm just now learning to drive (automatic) and finding it a bit tricky to switch my right foot between the brake and the accelerator. I occasionally forget where my foot is, not switch fast enough, and since moving my foot requires me to move my whole leg, it can get pretty tiring on my thigh.

So... my question is, can I drive with two feet? Everyone in my family has said no, but I thought maybe I needed to ask some people who could really understand my point of view. If I could drive with two feet, I wouldn't have the problem of switching between pedals which would reduce my confusion of where my foot is and where it should be, and take the strain off my leg.

I really don't want to have to get a left-side accelerator pedal, also I don't think I need to. If it really is a bad habit to drive with two feet, I'll just have to get used to driving with one!

Thanks :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome, Sarah!

I am RBK as well, and when I drive a automatic, I use my left foot for braking. The wider brake pedal causes me to catch my foot underneath occasionally when switching, not a good thing. I do drive a manual in the normal fashion; the narrower pedal seems to give me less of an issue.

Not sure why anyone would tell you you can't drive two-footed. Heck, lots of "normal" folks do it too!

edit: Guess the welcome was unnecessary ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for such a quick reply! I was having the exact same problem with getting my foot caught underneath the brake pedal and then getting confused and pressing the wrong pedal, getting very frustrated and giving up!

Do you find there are any disadvantages in using your left foot for braking? I'll definitely give it a try next time I go for a drive.

And I think the welcome was necessary! I haven't been here in a while... haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have been driving an auto for 30 years with a normal set up but use both feet to drive. I use my good foot (left) on the brake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never had to worry about it, being an LBK myself...but I can tell you that, even among the able-bodied out there, there are folks who do quite nicely driving two-footed. In fact, my Bro-in-law worked for a while (while in high school) as a valet parking attendant, and they actually taught him to drive two-footed. Once he left that job, he returned to a "standard" driving style...but when he recently broke his knee and had to wear a brace while recovering, he went back to the two-footed style and did just fine!

I think most folks discourage two-footed driving because it can be possible to drive very badly with two feet, engaging both the accelerator and the brake at the same time. But if you're aware of that, and you're doing it to compensate for something like a prosthesis, it shouldn't be a problem. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a right AK and have driven numerous automatic cars unmodified using only my left foot, for around 25 years... don't see any reason why anyone would drive an suto with 2 feet, it makes no sense whatsoever... there is never a time when you would want to brake and accelerate at the same time?! The car is not designed for that, damage/excessive wear would be the only result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a RBK and have been driving with the left foot accelerator mod since several weeks after surgery. It is, in my opinion the best and most comfortable as well as safe scenario for driving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a right AK and have driven numerous automatic cars unmodified using only my left foot, for around 25 years... don't see any reason why anyone would drive an suto with 2 feet, it makes no sense whatsoever... there is never a time when you would want to brake and accelerate at the same time?! The car is not designed for that, damage/excessive wear would be the only result.

I started using my good foot on the brake not long after I first began driving. I found that I could easily swap my right foot from the accelerator to the brake but I always seemed to hit it too hard. Then not long after I read an article where a study showed that using the left foot on the brake in an auto improved reaction time in an emergency by nearly half a second. Seemed a good enough reason to me to I just kept doing it. Not once have I ever hit the brake while accelerating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a right AK and have driven numerous automatic cars unmodified using only my left foot, for around 25 years... don't see any reason why anyone would drive an suto with 2 feet, it makes no sense whatsoever... there is never a time when you would want to brake and accelerate at the same time?! The car is not designed for that, damage/excessive wear would be the only result.

I started using my good foot on the brake not long after I first began driving. I found that I could easily swap my right foot from the accelerator to the brake but I always seemed to hit it too hard. Then not long after I read an article where a study showed that using the left foot on the brake in an auto improved reaction time in an emergency by nearly half a second. Seemed a good enough reason to me to I just kept doing it. Not once have I ever hit the brake while accelerating.

Sounds fair enough, can't argue with that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am an RBK and have been for awhile. I drive using only my left foot but I don't have a modified accelerator. I just tuck my right leg behind my left leg and drive with my left foot. My wife says I have clown feet :) and maybe that helps, but I haven't every had any trouble with it. I can't really drive a stick though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My license has been invalid for about 2 months. I am finally going for an assessment this week. Although I have to go private or else I will be waiting for 8 months just for my first assessment. It costs enough too!

The first evaluation is clinical with an Occupational Therapist and my 2nd evaluation will be driving with

an OT and driver. I am sure I won't need to put anything for condition on my driver's license. I am able to drive with my prosthetic. I tried it on some quiet streets. It will be great to drive myself

where I want to go again!

Mary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hey im a rbk i just use my left foot only with a auto, on a stick i havent really messed with since i lost my leg in 01. i can tell you i have no problem with transitioning between the gas and break with my left foot. and i do wheeling and auto-xing, i would not recomend trying and using both feet for everyday driving, there are times were using both feet is helpful but not daily driving. yes alot of people do it but it is a bad habit and in a emergency situation it could cause problems.

as far as the brake peddle being a problem, just buy a small replacement one, there cheap and easy to install

if your having problems with using the one foot for both gas and brake...PRACTICE

get in your car, dont start it or put it out of gear. and just practice moving your foot back and forth, that way you can adjust your seat and the way you prosthesis is setting. after you get the hang of that have some one get in the passenger seat and randomly say brake and gas....it shouldnt take much time to get it down and it should become a natural reaction not a thought..

it does sound stupid and childish but if it saves you from a accident its worth it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×