Dangers Of One-Pedal Driving
As electric vehicles become more popular, manufacturers rush to capture sales. Vehicle manufacturers implement new features that don’t always consider safety. One such feature we would like to highlight is one-pedal driving.
What is One-Pedal Driving?
One-pedal driving is a feature commonly found in electric vehicles (EVs) that simplifies the process of accelerating and decelerating. In a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) car, drivers use one pedal (the accelerator) to speed up and another pedal (the brake) to slow down and stop.
In contrast, one-pedal driving combines both acceleration and regenerative braking into a single pedal. When drivers press down on the accelerator pedal, the car accelerates as usual. However, when drivers release pressure on the pedal, the regenerative braking system kicks in, slowing down the car and converting some of the kinetic energy back into stored energy in the battery. This can effectively bring the car to a complete stop, depending on the level of regenerative braking and how drivers use the pedal.
Safety Problems With One-Pedal Driving
One-pedal driving, when properly implemented, is generally considered safe. However, there are some potential safety issues:
Sudden Stops: If a driver releases the accelerator abruptly, especially at high speeds, the regenerative braking can be quite strong, potentially leading to a sudden and unexpected stop. This can be surprising to drivers who are not accustomed to the system.
Predicting Traffic Flow: In heavy traffic or situations where quick, subtle adjustments in speed are required, one-pedal driving might not be as intuitive as using a gas and brake pedal separately. Some drivers may find it harder to smoothly modulate speed.
Unpredictable Behavior of Other Drivers: In situations where other drivers might not be accustomed to the braking characteristics of an EV with one-pedal driving, there could be confusion or misunderstanding on the road.
Slowing/Stopping Without Brake Lights: One-pedal driving allows the driver to ease off or release the accelerator to slow down and/or stop. The driver often doesn’t need to touch the brake pedal.
No Brake Lights
Stopping a vehicle without the need for a brake pedal doesn’t sound like a big deal. But, the brake lights of some electric vehicles don’t illuminate when decelerating while using one-pedal driving. This can create a serious safety hazard for other drivers on the road.
Is This A Hazard?
Yes, the absence of brake lights during rapid deceleration in any vehicle can pose a safety hazard. Brake lights are a crucial communication tool for drivers on the road. They signal to other drivers that a vehicle is slowing down or coming to a stop. Brake lights provide essential information to other drivers for safe following distances and maneuvering in traffic.
In traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and EVs, the brake lights activate when the brake pedal is pressed. However, in some electric vehicles with strong regenerative braking systems, the brake lights may not illuminate during rapid deceleration. Because the driver doesn’t need to physically press the brake pedal, the brake lights do not light up.
This can lead to situations where following drivers may not be aware the vehicle ahead is slowing down, potentially increasing the risk of rear-end collisions. This is especially dangerous in fast-moving traffic, stop-and-go, or situations requiring sudden stops.
Lack Of Regulation For One-Pedal Driving
There is currently no regulation in the United States to address the lack of brake lights with one-pedal driving. However, some electric vehicle manufacturers have implemented systems that automatically activate the brake lights during regenerative braking, simulating the behavior of conventional brake lights. It is still important for drivers to be aware and take appropriate precautions while driving.
In the event of a rear-end collision, the driver in the back is typically at fault. Nearly all rear-end collisions can be avoided if the driver in the back follows the rules of the road. Never follow too closely behind another vehicle. Always allow a minimum of 3 full seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Stay safe on the road!