Accelerator pedal The accelerator is operated by your right foot and controls the power from the engine. When you press the accelerator the engine produces more power to make the car go faster or climb hills; releasing the pedal reduces the power and will usually slow the car down (unless you are going downhill). Your instructor may use the term 'gas pedal' when referring to the accelerator. This is done for ease of instruction and understanding – 'more gas', for example, would mean press the pedal a bit harder, 'less gas', a little less.
Footbrake pedal Like the accelerator, you operate the footbrake with your right foot. The footbrake pedal operates brakes on all the wheels to slow, or stop, the car. The footbrake also switches on the brake lights at the back of the car so that drivers behind you know that you are slowing down. When you start driving you will learn about 'progressive braking'; this term refers to controlled use of the footbrake that enables a smooth reduction of speed. You will also learn that the footbrake (like the indicator switch) is also inextricably linked with the mirrors.
The clutch pedal is operated with your left foot. When the pedal is pressed down the link between the engine and the driving wheels is broken; this allows you to change gear and stop the car without stopping the engine. The clutch pedal should always be up in normal driving with your left foot resting on the floor. As soon as you have learned the basic skill of moving off and stopping you will learn about 'clutch control'. This is a way of using the clutch pedal to make the car move very slowly and is an essential skill in many driving situations.