Pedals of the car: what they are and how they are arranged

Brake, clutch and accelerator , the 3 tools that allow you to move the vehicle, change gear and brake: these are the car pedals, how they are arranged and why.

Pedals of the car: what are they

There are 3 car pedals on vehicles equipped with manual gearbox:

  • brake – placed in the center of the pedal, it is activated with the right foot
  • clutch – placed on the left, operated with the left foot
  • accelerator – located on the right, operated with the right foot

The situation is different if you have opted for a car with automatic (or sequential) transmission , by its nature without gear shifting and without clutch, but with the largest brake pedal.

By now the clutch is the pedal closest to retirement, at least on new cars, especially due to the advent and ever-increasing spread of ADAS, in addition to the widespread use of automatic transmissions.

But why are the pedals on your car arranged like this?

Car pedals: why they are arranged like this

The advent of ADAS and the absence of the clutch make driving more relaxed and less tiring, but it is important to emphasize that driving with a manual gearbox keeps the attention threshold high, makes the engine feel more and determines the skill (or not) of the driver.

Having said that, regardless of personal and objective preferences, why have car pedals always been arranged in the same way?

Things have changed a lot compared to the first motor cycles controlled mostly through levers, but since the first mass cars there have always been 3 pedals, despite their functions different from those of today.

The first car similar to modern ones, that is, with the current arrangement of the shift lever, handbrake between the seats and 3 pedals controls was the Cadillac Type 53 of 1915 .

The reason the current pedal arrangement has become standard is to attempt to reduce the risk of driver error, which is far from unlikely even today.

Since then, the changes have been few and in fact they have almost all been linked to the disappearance of the clutch pedal in the case of automatic gearboxes and the appearance of modern buttons instead of the handbrake.


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