I need to teach my teenage son how to drive. I need the emergency brake in the middle so I can override just in case. I am looking at 4 door sedans from Toyota and Honda between 2007 and 2010. I would like to target my search to only cars that have this feature.

Update: Thank you for your many answers and comments. I agree that the parking brake is not an emergency brake. I just didn't know the limits of stopping ability.

I will search for a mechanic that can install the instructor brake kit on the passenger side. I am sorry but I need the override or I won't do it. Safety first.

Why don't they install a real emergency brake standard instead of a weak parking brake?

  • 5
    I would venture to assume all 4-door sedans from Toyota and Honda have e-brake handles in between the two front seats. You do realize the e-brake isn't going to help much in the way of emergency braking? These handles should really be called "parking brake handles", which would be much more accurate. There is plenty of "holding" power from these when you're stopped, but not much in the way of "stopping" power when you're going. They only apply the rear brakes, which may only be about 30% of the stopping power the car is equipped with. The better bet is to teach them at low speed. Jun 3, 2017 at 21:32
  • @paulster2 some don't, the Prius off the top of my head doesn't. I agree that using the parking brake to stop an already moving car is silly. In NYS to pass inspection the parking brake only has to hold at 1000-1500 rpm or slightly accelerating while in drive. So just over idle. A better idea would be to find an instructors car that has a second brake pedal on the passenger side.
    – Ben
    Jun 4, 2017 at 1:45
  • 4
    I would suggest ignoring the requirement for the handbrake to be in the middle, and instead concentrate on teaching (or paying someone else to teach) your son how to drive correctly. If you ever feel the need to pull on a brake, then he hasn't failed - you have.
    – PeteCon
    Jun 4, 2017 at 2:03
  • This is an absolutely horrible idea. Please don't end up like these people by doing this. denver.cbslocal.com/2014/04/06/…
    – cory
    Jun 5, 2017 at 18:46

5 Answers 5


If you are concerned that you need it as an over-ride you could consider fitting an extra pedal box and getting brakes that way.

You may find enough room on the bulkhead / firewall to have a simple mechanical linkage that will work. Ask driving schools where they get the work done.

I started both my sons at12 / 13 just becase they were interested and used a big empty car park. It's funny how the first time they find 5mph REALLY fast !!!! Also let daughter steer sitting on my lap - too small to reach the pedals... She has to do what her brothers do !


As just about everybody else pointed out, the e-brake/hand brake will not stop the car unless the driver is intending to stop the car. 2 things:

  • I once had a leak in the braking system and I did use the hand brake to stop the car at traffic lights just to limp home. I was shifting into neutral and applying the hand brake, and it did stop the car, just not as quickly as you would want when you are teaching your son how to drive and he's about to run into the back of someone. The wife also has the habit of forgetting the e-brake ON. She just gets in the car and goes. Do you think she notices?
  • Over the years, I've taught 5 people how to drive. The most important thing you need to do is make them realise that THEY are in control of the car, and therefore of both of your personal safeties, as well as all the properties around you. I always start in an empty parking lot, teach them the feel of the pedals and the steering wheel. 20 kph scares them, and their driving scares you. It's a process where both of you need to build trust: them in their skills, and you in their judgement. Once you are satisfied of their vehicle control, teach them about mirrors and turn signals. Last is shoulder checks. Then, and only then, do you take them out on the road. You applying the hand brake will accomplish 2 things: make them feel like they can't drive, and make them feel like there will always be a safety net to bail them out. The biggest thing to learn about driving properly is responsibility: there's rules to follow (if they get a ticket, they need to understand it's their fault), and there's lives and properties at risk (if they crash into something, regardless of what actually happened, they will be partly responsible, if only in a moral sense).

Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry. The years you listed and the access you required is present in these cars.

  • Stay away from the civics, they have a funny parking brake. Jun 3, 2017 at 21:35
  • I was just checking out a black 2009 Toyota Camry. It had the gear shift in the middle but the parking brake is not. It's a beautiful car, but not having this is a deal breaker. Jun 3, 2017 at 22:39
  • Well actually none of these manufacturers have it in the dead centre. It's inclined close to the driver position. Your best bet would be a ford mustang from the 90s. Jun 4, 2017 at 9:03
  • Did you pick anything? What else are you looking for? Jun 22, 2017 at 0:17
  • There are some drivers education cars sold equipped with a brake on both sides of the front portion. Few might even lease for a month or so. Give it a try for now. Jun 22, 2017 at 0:18

So is safe to say that the only ones that have an emergency brake are the mustangs of the ‘90s or an instructor car


Thanks for the answers and comments. I have found 2 aftermarket instructors aid brake override kits online. If anyone has the same concerns they can order and they are both easy to install.



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