Many drivers who have been driving for several years were taught to hold on to the steering wheel at 10 and 2.

This has changed.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now recommends holding on to the wheel at 9 and 3.

Steering Wheel Hand Placement

Think of the steering wheel as a clock face. Proper placement of the driver’s hands on the steering wheel places them at 9 and 3 o’clock. When the steering wheel is also properly adjusted, the hands should be evenly across from the shoulders. This is variable based on the height of the driver.

This might feel a little uncomfortable for those who learned the 10 and 2 rule, but the 9 and 3 rule is much safer.

Safety in Mind

Technology and safety procedures are always changing and being updated. Hand placement on the steering wheel is one of those things that need to be paid attention to.

Placing the driver’s hands at 9 and 3 protects the driver in the event of airbag deployment. Using the 10 and 2 position puts the driver’s arms in the way should the airbag deploy in a frontal crash.

Using the Steering Wheel Safely

Some steering practices are safer than others. The first rule is to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times.

Push – Pull

When turning the wheel under normal driving conditions, the push – pull method is recommended. Keep the left hand between 8 and 10 o’clock and the right hand between 2 and 4 o’clock while turning. “Push” the wheel up in the direction of the turn and “pull” down with the hand on the side of the turn. This procedure keeps both hands on the wheel in a safe location in the event of a crash and prevents the wheel from slipping.

Hand Over Hand

There are times when the hand over hand method is useful. This is best used when turn at low speeds such as at intersections or when parking.

One Hand When Backing

One handed turning might be needed when backing. A driver should actually look behind the vehicle when backing and not being dependent on cameras. This requires placing one arm behind the passenger seat while looking back.

Whatever method is used, it is important to place the hands back on the steering wheel in the 9 and 3 position as soon as possible after the turn is completed.

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