No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, chances are you do not spend much time thinking about your pedals. You know that stepping on the gas pedal makes the car go faster, and that pressing the brake pedal brings the vehicle to a safe and secure stop. But beyond that basic driving knowledge, you probably know little about how those pedals work – or how they have changed throughout the years.
Like everything else in automotive design, the pedals in your car have evolved over the years. Some of these changes are the result of safety concerns, while others are purely cosmetic in nature. Whether you are a student of automotive design, a fan of classic cars or just an interested driver, the changes that pedals have undergone through the years is nothing short of fascinating.
One of the most significant changes in pedal design involves the placement of those pedals within the vehicle. When you step into your car, you may notice that the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal are relatively far away from each other, but that was not always the case.
In the past, there have been a number of issues with unintended acceleration, and in most cases, driver error was the culprit. In emergency situations, panicked drivers often stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, causing the vehicle to careen out of control and causing many serious accidents.
As a result of these incidents, automotive designers moved the pedals farther apart, making it more difficult for drivers to mistake one pedal for the other. This design change did not completely eliminate issues with unintended acceleration, but it did help to make driving safer.
Another important design change involves the way the pedals feel underfoot. You may have noticed these changes in design as you bought new cars throughout the years, but chances are you did not think much about it.
Over the years, pedals have become more responsive, giving drivers more feel even through the thickest shoes and boots. If you drive an antique or classic car, or even an older vehicle, you may notice that the pedals feel stiff compared to their modern equivalents. That is no accident – the evolution of automotive manufacturing and pedal design is responsible for the upgrade.
Automotive design has changed significantly over the years, from the way cars are made and tested to the way they feel when you drive. The design of the pedals is no exception, and these changes have helped make modern cars both safer and more fun to drive.