In an automobile, the dead pedal, often also called the foot rest, is typically a non-moving piece of rubber or metal that the driver is supposed to rest his or her left foot on when driving. Although the dead pedal serves no function in the car, many cars opt to implement it because it provides a number of benefits to the driver. In manual transmission cars the dead pedal is designed to promote a smoother actuation of the clutch by keeping the drivers foot in the same plane as the pedal. Automatic transmission cars can also benefit from the dead pedal because it prevents fatigue by offering a stable inclined surface on which the driver can place his or her foot. Even if a car does not have a dead pedal installed, there are a variety of aftermarket accessories that can be installed.
The dead pedal was not a staple component in original design of automobile pedals. Cars such as the original Ford Model T, 1908, did not have dead pedals and had an upright pedal system. The dead pedal was developed to prevent the accidental actuation of the clutch or brake, also known as left-foot braking, by providing an alternative surface to rest the foot on. The dead pedal became more important with time as stronger and faster cars were developed because the left foot must push against the floor to brace the drivers body. Racing cars and civilian cars with manual transmission systems will have the dead pedal. Most auto transmission cars can also have the dead pedal but cars like the Ford Focus 1998 don't have it.
The dead pedal serves two main purposes in cars.
- It acts as a foot rest for the left foot, for the comfort of the driver.
- In cars with manual transmissions, it helps keep the driver from riding the clutch, a dangerous practice of keeping the clutch partially disengaged while driving.
The dead pedal provides an inclined surface for the driver to place his foot on while driving. This allows the driver to brace himself or herself when maneuvering without accidentally engaging the brakes. This helps the driver maintain more control over his or her vehicle. It also prevents wear on the brake or clutch pedal because even if no additional pressure is put on these pedals, the constant contact and abrasion of the driver's foot will wear away at the surface of pedals. In automatic cars the dead pedal is normally just a rubber step placed on the floor of the car. In racing cars the dead pedal is used to cut down the response time in activating the clutch and is integral to smooth actuation of the clutch. It is typically an actual pedal located to left of the clutch. The dead pedal allows for the racer or driver to keep his left foot on the same plane as the clutch, thus making the transition between them smoother and faster. However, the dead pedal still serves no function to the car itself. There have been attempts to advance the dead pedal technology by making it modular  and by making it serve a function as an engine regulator.
The most common and widely available, these dead pedals come in the form of foot rests that are put on the car floor. They come in many forms: some are metal plates, some are rubber pads, and some are simply a raised area of the car floor.
These are fake pedals that don't actually serve a function but are still a native part of the car's pedal system. These can be found in some race cars.
Dead pedals have never been a required addition to standard automobile pedal sets. This is because the advantages of having a dead pedal are most commonly associated with manual transmission cars. Furthermore, cars with left side drive often have a natural footrest because of the wheel well so it is more common to find right side drive cars with dead pedals. However, the dead pedal promotes safe driving habits by serving as a place for drivers to place their foot and prevent accidental left foot braking. It is not recommended to brake with the left foot because it is less confusing when switching between automatic and manual transmission cars. Resting one's foot on the brake pedal may also accidentally light up the brake lights when the vehicle is not decelerating.
This area may also include other features not associated with direct operation of the vehicle, for instance a foot button for control of the lights or radio. On certain models of Mercedes Benz and Volvo vehicles, the parking brake is a pedal located here.