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Old 24-03-2010   #1
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Question Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

Today i realised that i didn't know the answer to this question which i thought of years ago.....

Why is the Brake Pedal higher than the Accelerator Pedal???

This don't make sense to me atm because lets pretend that your driving along and suddenly Bambi's Mother jumps out in the middle of the road.

NO ONE wants Bambi's mother to die, surely. So now you either stop in time and save her... or you destroy Bambi's whole world

If the Brake pedal was the same height or lower than the Accelerator Pedal then there would be more time saved to Brake, compared to having to lift your foot further to reach it.

So can someone please explain why Bambi's Mother has to die?
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Old 24-03-2010   #2
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

Well, to misquote Chandler Bing:

'Bambi's mother didn't die, the artist just stopped drawing'.

The old oleopneumatic Citroens had a button on the floor instead of a brake pedal, and when you hit that the cars just STOPPED!

In fact, I believe the old DS was the shortest braking car until very recently - indeed - certainly it still held the record when ABS was introduced. But it had excellent inboard disc brakes anyway.

Other than that, I don't know
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Old 24-03-2010   #3
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

My guess is that it's just convention. The brake pedal has always been in that position, so keep it there.

The height of the pedal probably goes back to early cars with mechanicaly operated brakes. It needed a lot of travel to maintain brake pressure through brake rods and fulcrum trees to keep the shoes on the drums.

I occasionaly borrowed a Citroen DS years ago and as Ulpian says above, hit the button and the car just stopped. However, it was difficult to get used to and equaly difficult to re-adjust to to my normal car again. Possibly why the idea never caught on?

There was a similar situation with the QWERTY keyboard, which contrary to popular opinion, was actualy designed to slow down typing. Early days of mechanical typewriters, if you typed too fast, the levers and type hammers would get jammed.

The advent of the PC would have been an ideal time to change the layout to make typing faster, but everyone said no, just leave it how we're used to it being.
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Old 24-03-2010   #4
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

Maybe because the accelerator always has your foot on it, and if it were too high the angle of your ankle would provoke ergonomic pain, the clutch pedal has further to travel so cannot be lowered, so it makes conventional sense to have the brake & clutch pedals at a similar height with the accelerator slightly lower for ease of use & comfort.
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Old 24-03-2010   #5
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

possibly to stop the brake pedal being pressed at the same time the accelerator is pressed and vice versa.

guess it helps increase distance between pedals without needing extra physical space? for example a pug 106 would be impossible rather than extremely difficult to drive, if the pedals were all level.
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Old 24-03-2010   #6
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

I can think of three possible reasons. The first is that if the brake was at the same height, or lower than the accelerator, if you tried to carry our an emergency stop, you could hit the gas rather than the brake. As it is, if your foot is a little off to the right when you tried to stop, the brake pedal would already be partly depressed as you caught the gas, so you'd still have some braking effort.

The second is that in earlier times, double de-clutching was common place with non-synchromesh gearboxes, as was the heel and toe gearchange. It would be impossible to carry out h&t if the brake pedal was lower.

In the days before servo assisted brakes the pedal used to go down a long way and sometimes had to be released and re-applied; pumping. Even now, if your servo packed up, a very short pedal travel would limit your ability to stop.
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Last edited by The Beard; 24-03-2010 at 17:38.
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Old 24-03-2010   #7
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

Quote Originally Posted by maddogmorg View Post
possibly to stop the brake pedal being pressed at the same time the accelerator is pressed and vice versa.
Quote Originally Posted by The Beard View Post
I can think of three possible reasons. The first is that if the brake was at the same height, or lower than the accelerator, if you tried to carry our an emergency stop, you could hit the gas rather than the brake. As it is, if your foot is a little off to the right when you tried to stop, the brake pedal would already be partly depressed as you caught the gas, so you'd still have some braking effort.
Oi! Stop writing what I'm thinking - git.
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Old 24-03-2010   #8
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

Does anyone actually know the reason?

(Oh, its so you don't get confused between the brake and accelerator. No, really, it is)
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Old 26-03-2010   #9
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

It's all very interesting
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Old 26-03-2010   #10
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Post Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

The brake pedal is higher than the accelerator pedal so that when you can heel & toe.

When you brake the pedal is pressed so it becomes level with accelerator pedal so you can then blip the acc pedal and rev match your downshifts.

This is blooming obvious for anyone who can drive.

One criticism of the 500 (including Abarth) is pedals are same height making heel & toeing near impossible, lots of drivers have raised comments as such in the Trofeo series and find it very disappointing a race car still has same pedal positions as the road cars. And a few of the proper publications like EVO mag have also said you needed a double jointed ankle to heel & toe.

This is why many driver oriented cars also have a small lug sticking out from the acc pedal to make it easier to heel & toe, though there is a minimum MOT requirement of having 50mm between pedals.
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Old 26-03-2010   #11
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

So it's really all down to the Heel & Toe?

I personally can't get get to grips with the Heel & Toe... I can double de-clutch but it's probably my driving stance that stops me being able to Heel & Toe, my legs are long

I totally love Sega Rally Championship, i got it on the Sega Saturn
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Old 26-03-2010   #12
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

Yes it's because of heel & toe.

The SEGA Rally is because I have an integrale EVO and used to have a Celica GT4 ST205 as well at the same time living the SEGA Rally dream.
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Old 26-03-2010   #13
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

Well I never... all cars are produced to a standard so that the odd 10% of drivers who need / want to heel & toe can do so....

I'll accept it may be convention from a time heel & toe was necessary though...
I know the racers like to do it but I'll bet 90% of road drivers dont, further I'll bet 90% of that 90% dont know how to heel & toe or why they may need to...
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Old 26-03-2010   #14
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

Hmm i think is a MOT failure if the gas pedal is higher than the brake pedal?

I agree with that when emergency braking you need the brake pedal higher than the gas pedal

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Old 26-03-2010   #15
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Re: Why are Brake Pedal's higher than Accelerator Pedal's?

Quote Originally Posted by Ffoxy View Post
Well I never... all cars are produced to a standard so that the odd 10% of drivers who need / want to heel & toe can do so....
I doubt that even 1% of car drivers heel & toe and I think it very unlikely that the worlds car manufacturers have designed a system that 99% of their customers don't use/want/need.
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