When it comes to matters driving, most decisions tend to be based on convenience or popular opinion. If that popular opinion does not make you a safer driver, throw it out the window. There are two prominent ideas about how to hold a steering wheel: ‘ten and two’ and ‘nine and three’. The others are so off the mark they are not worth a mention.
So, which is it?
The ‘ten and two’ is the nearly man. It is not bad, but it is not great either. It passes the maneuverability test, in that it is possible to turn a vehicle relatively well in normal driving and in emergency situations. Its Achilles heel is the fact that it positions your arms in the path of the airbag – which explodes at 320km/h. The only way to avoid the path is the ‘Nine and three’, which thankfully, is the current industry standard.
Cars, technology and steering wheels have changed. The placement of modern infotainment controls and the indents of modern steering wheels make it clear where manufacturers expect your hands. Additionally, the position allows effortless turning of the wheel with push and pull action, making parking and long distance travel a lot easier and safer.
To get the most out of it however, means perfecting the other aspects that affect where you are in relation to the steering wheel. First, ensure you are seated in the most comfortable manner per your preference. Place you wrists on top of your steering wheel. If you have to get your shoulders off the seat to do so, then you need either to move forward or pull your steering wheel closer to you. Third, place your hands on the wheel at the ‘nine and three’. They should have a 90-degree bend at the elbows. The latter should give you a sense of control.
The automotive world evolves fast, with new information affecting how we drive every day. While significant change in driving position might take a while to get used to, safety comes first.
Adapt or die.