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The Pedals in my Truck
March 7, 2005 5:00 PM   Subscribe

Why aren't the pedals in my truck flush with each other?

The brake pedal sticks out farther than the accellerator. Is there a reason this? safety? Ergonomics? Space aliens?
posted by joelf to Technology (5 answers total)
 
Just a guess: Reverse ergonomics, whereby something is made less convenient to avoid accidents/confusion.
posted by NickDouglas at 5:06 PM on March 7, 2005


I always thought it must be to try and prevent you from confusing the two pedals.
posted by Krrrlson at 5:10 PM on March 7, 2005


The brake is a lever for a hydraulic system and needs more room to move than the gas pedal, which (in most cars) just needs to pull a wire a few inches. In order for the brakes to be easy for the average person to engage fully in an emergency situation, the pedal (which is the end of a lever) needs to have room to travel a greater distance. The longer the lever is on the operating side of the fulcrum, the less effort required.
posted by pmbuko at 5:13 PM on March 7, 2005


With a manual transmission, you'll occasionally find the need to manipulate all three pedals at once when doing heel and toe downshifts or even starting out uphill. If the pedals were flush, it'd be hard to reach the gas with the brake depressed; with them staggered, the gas is right where you need it when the brake is depressed. The photo labeled "Position 4" at the downshifts URL above shows how the lower accelerator is right there when the brake is down.

I doubt it's a mechanical design issue. Some cars do have flush or nearly-flush accelerator and brake pedals. Some of those cars don't even have power brakes! They tend to be frustrating to drive in those instances where you need to manipulate all three pedals.
posted by mendel at 5:38 PM on March 7, 2005


I know that in Texas, your car won't pass safety inspection if the brake isn't significantly higher than the gas. I think this is so that in a panic situation, if you mash down on the brakes, but your foot is a little too far to the right, you'll be pushing down the brake farther than the gas, which is most likely what you'd want.
posted by cameldrv at 11:50 PM on March 7, 2005


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