Keeping your foot off the brake  

Posted on February 1st, 2016 by Rob Marshall



Encouraging on-road consideration is a founding principle of GEM but it is easy to forget how a seemingly simple action can not only cause discomfort for other people but also it might increase your car’s repair costs.

I refer specifically to motorists that do not apply their handbrakes and insist on keeping their feet on the brake pedals, when stationary in traffic, thus dazzling the driver behind with permanently-lit brake lights. The situation is worsened in low, or impaired, light conditions, especially on cars equipped with bright LED bulbs. Oh, how I dream for the return of brake light dimmers, which were fitted to many pre-1980 cars, which reduced the brake-lights’ intensity, when the main lights were switched-on!

While keeping one’s foot on the brakes is never the safest option, notably when stationary for anything longer than the shortest of periods (and unadvisable, according to my copy of the Highway Code), the problem is compounded by some types of Stop-Start systems, which keep the brake lights burning, when the system is operational.

Aside from causing discomfort to following drivers’ eyes, the situation can also cause uneven cooling of the brake discs, increasing the risk of them warping. An uncomfortable juddering, during light braking, is a sign that the front brake discs are warped and require attention and, possibly, replacement. Therefore, not only will other motorists thank you for applying your parking-brake in traffic but your car and wallet will too.