What Time Do You Have?

I’m about to open the debate between how we hold the steering wheel. Is it 10 and 2, or is it 9 and 3? I know that there are a lot of drivers that have their clock broken because they only have one hand on the wheel. They have their hand at 11:00, 12:00, or 1:00. I’m not even going to mention the driver whose clock is so broken that their hand is at 6:00! What’s the best hand position for the best control?The current debate has a group of people having their hands at 9 and 3. They say it’s because they have better control. Many people are saying the driver’s hands should never come off the steering wheel. If their hands are at 9 and 3, they can steer by turning the steering wheel enough that their arms cross another so the opposite hands are at 9 and 3 as they go around the corner.

How comfortable are you having your arms remaining crossed as you go around the corner?

The other problem of steering from 9 and 3 is if the driver realized they needed to turn the wheel some more, it would be too late. By the time they realized they needed to turn the wheel some more, they would already be wide around the corner.
If your hands are at 10 and 2, you can steer around most corners and leave your arms in the open position; ie: not crossed. This makes the slide recovery much easier to do. Starting with your hands at 10 and 2, you would pull down on the steering wheel releasing at either 4 or 8, depending on the direction of the turn. To make that turn smooth, complete your steering by the time you’re half way around the corner. From this point, you would be able to let the steering wheel slide back on the recovery. Pretty smooth, eh?

I had to field a question about hand placement and the airbag. The question was if the driver’s hands were at 10 and 2 would the air bag hit their arms and break them? No they won’t. The difference between 10 and 2 and 9 and 3 would not put the driver’s arms in the path of the airbag. The only way your hand placement would affect your health is if the driver held the steering wheel anywhere from 11:00 through 1:00. If the airbag went off, you would smack yourself in the face! Ouch! Besides, lets hold the wheel in a way that will allow us to avoid crashes; not in case the airbag deploys.

Whichever position you keep your hands on the steering wheel, keep them both on the wheel to help you maintain control. One hand just doesn’t do it safely. By the time you realize you need 2 hands, it’ll be too late. It’s about being in control all of the time. For steering this way, I’ve got to hand it to you!

Author’s Bio: Scott Marshall is Director of Training for Young Drivers of Canada (www.yd.com). Recently he has been a judge on the first three seasons of Canada’s Worst Driver on Discovery Network. Scott started writing columns on driving for his community paper over 4 years ago. Since then his columns have been printed in several publications including newspaper, magazines and various web-sites. Now he has his own blog at http://safedriving.wordpress.com. You can reach Scott via e-mail with any questions or comments at safedriver36@yahoo.ca.