Driving is an everyday activity for many of us, but it’s also one of the riskiest things we do.
According to the World Health Organization, road traffic accidents are a leading cause of death worldwide, and the way we hold our steering wheel can play a significant role in our safety behind the wheel.
While it might seem like a straightforward task, holding your steering wheel the right way can make a world of difference in ensuring your safety on the road. So, let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of the safest way to hold your steering wheel.
1. Correct Sitting Position
First and foremost, let’s talk about your sitting position. It’s crucial to be in the right and comfortable spot behind the wheel. Why? Because being in an incorrect position or feeling uncomfortable can compromise your control over the car.
2. Adjust the Seat
One thing to ensure is that you’re not too far away from the steering wheel. Find a sweet spot where you won’t have to stretch your arms excessively to reach it. After all, there’s no point in driving a car if you can’t easily grip the steering wheel.
3. Hand Positions
When it comes to hand positions, experts recommend the 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock positions on the steering wheel. This isn’t just a random suggestion; it’s designed to prevent straining your hand muscles and minimize the risk of hand injuries in the event of an accident. Keep in mind that hand positions may vary slightly depending on the steering technique you’re using.
The other hand positions are:
The “10 and 2” Position
One of the oldest and most tried-and-true methods of holding the steering wheel is the “10 and 2” position. Imagine the face of a clock, where your left hand is at 10 o’clock, and your right hand is at 2 o’clock. This method offers a balanced grip on the wheel, allowing for precise control over your vehicle. It also ensures that your hands are positioned high on the wheel, reducing the risk of injury in case of an airbag deployment.
The “9 and 3” Position
In recent years, the “9 and 3” position has gained popularity among driving instructors and safety experts. This method involves placing your hands at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock on the steering wheel. With this approach, you have better leverage and can easily make controlled movements. It’s a comfortable grip that minimizes hand strain during long drives, making it a great option for those who frequently hit the open road.
Why Not the “12 O’Clock” Position?
You might be wondering, “What’s wrong with holding the wheel at the ’12 o’clock’ position?” Well, while it might look cool in the movies, it’s not the safest choice for everyday driving. This position can lead to a loss of control in the event of sudden movements or road obstacles. Your hands might slip, and you’ll find yourself in a sticky situation.
4. One-Handed Driving
Using just one hand to steer can be tempting, especially during those casual, relaxed drives. However, it’s not a wise choice when safety is your priority. One-handed driving can reduce your ability to react quickly, and it leaves you vulnerable to losing control of the vehicle. So, save the one-handed style for your dance moves, not your steering wheel.
The Importance of Hand Placement
The key to safely holding your steering wheel is to maintain a relaxed but firm grip. Avoid gripping the wheel too tightly, as this can lead to fatigue and muscle strain. Keep your fingers and thumbs wrapped around the wheel, but with a gentle touch. This allows you to make precise adjustments while maintaining control.
Adjust to Your Comfort
Every driver is unique, and what matters most is finding a hand position that feels comfortable to you. Whether you prefer “8 and 4”, “10 and 2” or “9 and 3,” the essential factor is that you have full control of your vehicle. Adjust your grip according to your comfort while keeping safety in mind.
Your steering wheel is your lifeline on the road. How you hold it can be a matter of safety or risk. While the “8 and 4” position is highly recommended, the “10 and 2” and “9 and 3” positions offer the best balance of control and comfort.
Remember to keep a relaxed grip and avoid the risky “12 o’clock” position and the habit of one-handed driving. Drive safely, and let your steering wheel be your trusted companion on your journey.