left-foot accelerator?

Has anybody had any experience with a portable left-foot accelerator?  If so, would you recommend renting one? I have wonderful friends and colleagues who will be driving me to and from work, but I suspect the loss of independence will become increasingly frustrating before too long.  I could try using my left foot on the regular accelerator and brake but it’s pretty awkward — it almost makes me wish for the days that cars had bench seats in the front so that it was possible to slide over some.

28 Responses to “left-foot accelerator?”

  1. I had to remove my boot from the right foot, tuck it in close to the drivers seat and kind of position my back towards the door. Yes left foot driving is very awkward but the more I did it the more natural it became. I found it easiest doing it with no shoes on. I am driving a larger SUV as well which probably helped room wise getting the right foot out if the way.

  2. Thanks — I’ve pretty much decided that I’ll save the money and just drive with my left foot. The foot well in my car (jetta wagon) is pretty small, which makes it trickier. What kind of boot are you using? Right now I have the aircast kind, but am going to ask my OS to prescribe the vacocast when I see him on Friday.

  3. upstate2519 - I usually chine in on the driving debate for right foot injuries. There are a few people here who have done it successfully but the issue comes down to how much risk you are prepared to take for the freedom of driving yourself. These risks include financial if something goes wrong and you have a collision. Your insurance would most likely be void without an approval from your doc to drive and second it could be criminal should you hurt someone badly. The law in my country views it as negligence. Negligence causing death is called manslaughter. We all take risks but I guess my objection is when that risk can affect someone else in a devestating way.

  4. Stuart, those are very good points. I know there are companies in the US and Canada that sell left-foot accelerators (including at least one in the state where I live). Does anybody know whether they would fall under reasonable accommotions required by the ADA?

    It’s not just a matter of convenience for me; I live by myself in an area with extremely limited public transportation and have responsibilities that require me not only to be able to get to and from places in the city where I live, but also a nearby city; there is no public transportation between the two cities even if I could get to a bus stop on my own.

  5. Great points Stuart.

    Upstate - I haven’t driven in over 2 months. I’ve gotten used to it. I live alone and rely on the kindness of my friends and family now. Also, I drive a stick shift and it requires both feet, so I may ask the doctor if I can drive once I go into a boot. I also just got a handicapped sticker for my car when I drive, or whomever is driving me around, we can now park close. (I’m supposed to be NWB)

    Are you in a cast or boot? Some people take their boot off to drive. Someone said they were taking off the hard shell of the boot and just wearing the liner when driving, and they use their heel.

    Normally I’m all in for rogue behavior, but I agree with Stuart. Take Care! Good Luck!

  6. Stuart and superjewgirl had just about convinced me to continue to rely on friends for all transportation and to use skype for meetings I couldn’t get to — until this morning’s experience.

    I had a friend (the only one I can think of who doesn’t have a full-time job) drive me to a doctor’s appointment, with the idea that I’d continue to use her (and pay for her gas) until I’m in two shoes. That was until she went through an intersection completely oblivious to the fact that the light was red until I said something. She then told me this was why people didn’t like to ride with her.

    I did a bunch of research into state laws and insurance regulations for using left-foot accelerators, and there are apparently no barriers or requirements. (Then again, I do live in a state where the legislators refused to pass a law that would forbid teens to text while driving, on the grounds that it such a law was the slippery slope to infringing on adults’ rights to do whatever they wanted in and with their cars.) Some states, like Florida, even have a designation on drivers’ licenses, like those for corrective lenses, but that mandate the use of a left-foot accelerator only.

    I ordered a portable left-foot accelerator this afternoon (I’m renting it) and will practice in my neighborhood until I’m comfortable driving on busier streets. I see it as the best possible compromise; it gives me the ability to drive when absolutely necessary, but avoids the potential safety issues of having my left foot cross over the brake to reach the accelerator. If people are interested, I’ll let you know how it goes.

  7. I figured its no different then being an amputee and not even having a right foot to drive with. Pretty simple minded but it worked for me. I had the standard black boot. I think the brand was nexstep. It all comes down common sense and being careful. I’m pretty sure I drove better with my left foot then a lot if the idiots out there drive with their right. ;)

  8. Good Luck Up! Not only am I a lefty but I also drive a stick. (Which sort of violates a lefty’s natural universe anyway). I could not do what you are doing only because it would require me to think to much. I hope your successful.

    Keep us posted with your recovery and your driving. Take Care.

  9. Glad you go that sorted. I really don’t like other people driving me other than my partner. There are very few I can trust and although it could have been disastrous , I got a laugh out of your story. It is going to be a bit strange for a while because it is not natural. When put into a stressful situation we tend to revert to our instinctive or learned behaviour. That is something you will have to deal with if the time comes so practise is the key. The control is the same if you were an amputee but as you are not your instinct can take over. Amputees may also be required to sit a driving test to show competancy and have and endorsement on the licence and insurance but who knows in your state. The important thing is that you and the people around you will be safer the way you have gone and if it helps to keep your friend off the streets more then even more people will benefit.

  10. I’d love to hear more about the rental of the left foot accelerator. Where did you get it from and approximately how much does it cost?

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  18. That is something you will have to deal with if the time comes so practise is the key. The control is the same if you were an amputee but as you are not your instinct can take over.

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  20. I remember the older pickups had the bench that you could slide across. You will have to get used to that accelerator.

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