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You're Driving All Wrong, Says NHTSA

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-officer-my-hands-are-on-the-wheel dept.

Transportation 756

antdude writes "This MSNBC Bottom Line story/article says that 'If you're a conscientious motorist who still does everything the way your driver's-ed instructor told you to, you're doing it all wrong. For decades, the standard instruction was that drivers should hold the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions, as envisioned on a clock. This, it turns out, is no longer the case. In fact, driving that way could cost you your arms or hands in particularly gruesome ways if your airbag deploys. Instead AAA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and many driving instructors now say you should grip the wheel at 9 and 3 o'clock. A few go even further, suggesting 8 and 4 to avoid the airbag mechanism as much as possible, but what formal research has been published on the varieties of hand positions suggests that this may lessen your control of the car.'" I usually hold even lower on the wheel, perhaps 4:30 and 7:30, but I also drive with my seat pushed farther forward than most people like. Drivers, what's your approach?

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One hand, 12 o'clock ... (5, Funny)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468747)

... like a boss.

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (5, Funny)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468783)

And the other arm hanging out the window.

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (4, Funny)

danomac (1032160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468831)

I drive with one hand at 12 o'clock, and the other holding a cup of coffee! Oh, my car doesn't have airbags. Or ABS. Or a million other safety items.

When something happens, I'll be in a giant flaming ball of fire, so I'll have other things to worry about.

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (5, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469101)

When something happens, I'll be in a giant flaming ball of fire, so I'll have other things to worry about.

Are you driving the last Pinto?

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (5, Informative)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468839)

I was driving like that when I got in to an accident. The air bag threw my hand up into the windshield hard enough for it to punch a hole in the windshield.

Fortunately, there wasn't too much damage to my hand, but a decade later, the scar on the back of my hand is still evident.

I no longer drive with a hand at the 12:00 position. It's 3:00 and 9:00 for me.

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (4, Funny)

Higgins_Boson (2569429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468943)

I was driving like that when I got in to an accident. The air bag threw my hand up into the windshield hard enough for it to punch a hole in the windshield. Fortunately, there wasn't too much damage to my hand, but a decade later, the scar on the back of my hand is still evident. I no longer drive with a hand at the 12:00 position. It's 3:00 and 9:00 for me.

You're not impressing anyone here with your made up stories of superhuman feats of strength.

Braggart.

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (5, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468843)

One hand holding a cognac, the other holding the girl...
The chauffeur sits in the front and drives whatever way he wants.

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468881)

Is this our cue to bring back those tired 1% jokes?

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (5, Funny)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469127)

The girl? You mean you only have one?

Carlin ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468861)

Now, a few basic points about driving. One of the first things they teach you in Driver's Ed is where to put your hands on the steering wheel. They tell you put 'em at ten o'clock and two o'clock. Never mind that. I put mine at 9:45 and 2:17. Gives me an extra half hour to get where I'm goin'.

-George Carlin

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (-1, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468965)

Fag. Motorcycle, one finger on the throttle, and not a single fuck is given. :P

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468983)

I do one hand 4 o'clock.

Re:One hand, 12 o'clock ... (5, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469031)

Not bad, but I prefer to use one hand at 6 o'clock. I sometimes worry that it might lessen my control of the car a bit when compared to the classic 10 and 2, but it's the only position comfortable enough for a quick nap.

Thanks, Apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468751)

Always looking out for me.

"Drivers, what's your approach?" (5, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468753)

I let my wife drive. I need my hands to hold my beer.

Re:"Drivers, what's your approach?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468891)

Your wife? Is that what you're calling it now?

I have.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468759)

Prosthetic arms and hands, you insensitive clod!

Re:I have.. (4, Funny)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468853)

If you have prosthetic arms, the prosthetic hands are assumed.

Non-sense! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468761)

Didn't mythbusters disprove this finger myth years ago?

Re:Non-sense! (5, Funny)

stoofa (524247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468837)

You don't believe in fingers? I guess that's what happens from watching Myth Busters with a ton of narcotics flowing through your veins. "Hey, I always knew there was no such thing as fingers," you told the giant purple amradillo while waving a blurry hand in front of your own knees.

Re:Non-sense! (2)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469103)

Only as far as the actual airbag explosion goes. It still might make your hand run into things, like the windscreen or the object coming through your windscreen.

8 and 4 (3, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468763)

Is what most professional race drivers have done for decades, for several reasons.

How many of s stick our elbow out the window and do a 9ish position 1/2 the time?

Re: 8 and 4 (4, Funny)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468817)

That would be quite uncomfortable in a right-hand drive car, so instead I have a 3ish position.

Re: 8 and 4 (3, Insightful)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468987)

8 and 4 is pretty much mandatory in F1 cars because that's the only position that puts your fingers in the right place to hit the clutch and shift paddles properly. On those, there's also usually no wheel between 10 and 2.

I usually use left hand at about 8 or 9 with elbow on the windowsill, my right at about 5 with elbow on the armrest, or my knee at about 7 if I'm on a long stretch of empty highway. (For the narrow range of steering required at highway speeds, you'd be surprised how much control you have with just a knee.) Manual transmission, usually one hand on wheel at 9-ish and the other on the shift lever. Usually don't need much more torque on the wheel than that.

But I've got about 500k+ miles under my belt, so i'm a little more casual than some other drivers..

Re: 8 and 4 (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469047)

Many racing cars don't even have a steering weel, just a T shaped handle.
There is not much of an option then.

Re: 8 and 4 (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469121)

Many racing cars don't even have a steering weel, just a T shaped handle.
There is not much of an option then.

Makes sense. You don't exactly turn the wheel on a racing car particularly far...

That is how I was taught (1)

ethan961 (1895082) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468771)

My father taught me 9 and 3, and for the most part that's what I've always used just because it worked for me. I never had any desire to do anything else. Never took any lessons, so nobody told me otherwise.

Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468777)

Wait wait wait. What's that in metric time?

How i drive (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468787)

I drive coaches, busses and cars...
I personally hold my hands like this;

Coach/Bus: Left hand on the money tray, RIght hand at 2
Car: Left hand on gear stick (yes... in the real world we drive manuals...) and right hand at 2

Driving with 2 hands on the wheel seems unnatural to me unless i'm flooring it... as I drive really relaxed...

Re:How i drive (3, Informative)

Alworx (885008) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468849)

Left hand on the gear stick? You sit facing backwards?!

Oh, wait, you said "real world"... where roundabouts rotate clockwise... :-D

Fools (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468789)

Use your knees. "Experts" are buncha idiots.

Proper position (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468791)

Left elbow out the window, steering wheel held by hanging thumb on steering wheel spoke. Right hand either: manipulating some text messaging device, hanging over back of bench seat or trying to slip up the skirt of some babe sitting next to me.

Front seat passengers should place feet up on the dashboard immediately on top of passenger airbag deployment panel to ensure major foot/leg injuries in the event of deployment.

Re:Proper position (5, Insightful)

AG the other (1169501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469113)

"Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. "
Albert Einstein

Re:Proper position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39469125)

I just drove the Alcan 5000 Winter Rally over 9,000kms with the navigator usually having his feet up on the dash - for warmth.

What is this 'clock' you are speaking of? (4, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468795)

My clocks have numbers, not hands.

10 and 2 mostly... (1)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468801)

... but when I'm feeling lazy, one handed at about 1:30.

The Time (1)

Soporific (595477) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468803)

I use 8 and 4 o'clock positions, but I think it's mostly because I'm lazy and don't want to hold up my arms for very long.

~S

10 and 2 (0)

X10 (186866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468805)

I recommend to remove the airbag and stick to 10 and 2. 8 and 4 definitely doesn't give you the same control in case the car suddenly starts to skid or you hit a pothole.

Re:10 and 2 (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468935)

lolwut?

Re:10 and 2 (4, Interesting)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469027)

If you're starting to drift in a skid, hand position is going to matter less than how fast you can turn the wheel against the rotation to catch it before you overrotate and go off the road sideways. Some positions might be a bit better than others, but it really depends on what the wheel angle is when your tires decide to let go. :p

old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468807)

My driver ed guy told me this a decade ago. How is this news?

I've had an airbag go off... (4, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468813)

I had my hands at roughly 9 and 3 when it did; all I got from the airbag were some friction burns on my right arm and a good snort of stuff I'd have rather not breathed.

Trying to specify any particular exact hand position given the variety of people, steering wheels, and driving positions seems pointless.

And performance driving instructors have been advocating push-pull steering (rather than hand-over-hand) for a very long time. Not because of the airbag, but because it provides better control. Whether it makes a difference on the road or in the mall parking lot I doubt.

I disable my airbag (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468815)

I sit so far back from the wheel that it would not do me any good anyway, and the collision threshold is typically set so low that the airbag actually presents a greater threat than is justifiable. In a low-speed collision where the car does not come to a stop, it might still be necessary to control the vehicle afterwards. If your arms have been blown off the steering wheel and possibly broken/severed by it, that's not possible, and can lead to secondary, even more injurious collisions.

I know this because I was involved in just such a collision (with a deer) where the airbag caused me to lose control of my vehicle, and my arms were broken so badly I could not turn the wheel to avoid having a second, must worse collision (with a tree), which killed my wife and 4 year old son, and left me paralyzed from the waist down.

They told me my son was killed instantly, and it took my wife 8 days to pass away in intensive care. I did not wake up from my coma until day 9. That was the worst day of my life.

Re:I disable my airbag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468889)

In a low-speed collision where the car does not come to a stop, it might still be necessary to control the vehicle afterwards. If your arms have been blown off the steering wheel and possibly broken/severed by it, that's not possible, and can lead to secondary, even more injurious collisions.

That's the point of the article. 10-and-2 can lead to having your arms blown back in your face when the device activates. 9-and-3 with proper thumb placement is much less likely to do so.

Re:I disable my airbag (1)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469059)

The sensor that triggers the airbag is in the very front of the car where it starts decelerating at the start of the impact, before the crush zone in the front begins to decelerate the rest of the car. It's supposed to be timed so that the airbag is maximally deployed right at peak deceleration during a frontal impact.

It's very likely the deer happened to hit the spot right in front of the airbag sensor and caused it to think a collision was underway, causing the bag(s) to deploy when they shouldn't have. I suspect yours isn't the first case where they've done that. Which is one reason I wasn't thrilled when they became mandatory, especially in cheap cars where the deployment isn't all that well thought out..

12 o'clock (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468821)

Being without arms, and a right leg; I use my nose.

what I typically observe (2)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468823)

One hand at 8 or 4 o'clock, one hand around cell phone

6 o'clock (1)

Alworx (885008) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468825)

Left hand at six o'clock and the other on the gear stick. That takes care of carpal tunnel issues.

Oooh I know this one (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468829)

I solve this problem by having a chauffeur :-)

Lose the airbags (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468833)

My friend says that everyone would drive a whole lot more safely if there was a huge, sharp metal spike on the steering wheel that was pointed toward the driver's chest. I think he might be right.

Just two digits (2)

Cat_Herder_GoatRoper (2491400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468835)

Index finger and Thumb at the 7 o'clock position

Don't drink and drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468847)

Don't drink and drive. You might spill your drink.

This has been recommended for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468851)

This is nothing new. 9 and 3 has been to recommendation of defensive driving courses for years.

No hands (3, Funny)

mkraft (200694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468859)

Drive with your knees. It keeps your hands free for the important things like texting and eating.

If you were a real American, this is how to drive (1)

Quadzi (1055522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468865)

Knee at 5:45. Left hand holding the burger wrapper like a plate. Right hand holding the burger.

9/3 (1)

khb (266593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468867)

I've been driving that way since the 1970's shortly after passing my first driving test. It was the recommendation of the folks at a local race school (admittedly I took the motorcycle not the driving course, but it came up in passing). I've been doing it so long I had to dredge up any memory of other advice.

It's taken NHTSA THIS long to fix an obvious blunder (especially since the mandate of airbags?) wow.

Pity we're not allowed to opt for 5 point harnesses. Safer than the crappy "automatic" belts and airbags (ever watch a race car accident?). Yes, a little more work to adjust, but far safer. Sadly, thanks to the pointy heads in Washington we're not allowed to opt for them as a factory option.

When Danica crashed (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468877)

When Danica crashed she put her hands on her helmet so that the reaction force of the steering wheel would not break her hands.

Why don't they teach that technique in driver's ed?

One hand six o clock (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468885)

I keep my steering wheel high, and just keep one hand comfortably on the bottom unless I'm actively turning or in tricky traffic requiring lots of lane changes.

Don't honk the horn (4, Informative)

zapster (39411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468887)

My wife was honking the horn as she hit a lady who had for some reason decided to stop while crossing a highway to tend her grandchild, at night, in the rain. Compound fracture of the arm was the result. Out of work for three months. Never honk the horn.

Re:Don't honk the horn (4, Insightful)

jbwolfe (241413) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469145)

Sorry 'bout your wife's injury and I'm not directing this specifically at her as I don't know the circumstances. However, I've often wondered why folks who have enough time and anticipation to blow the horn don't use those mental resources to evade the collision in the first place- speaking strictly in those instances resulting in such. Horns are terribly overused and to me seem useful only in getting the attention of someone able to oblige. I would argue that the great majority of peers on the road are devoting 20% of their available mental resources to the task (driving) at hand, and that they should be allocating more like 80%. I find that drivers in Germany do an exemplary job of this, as well as abiding rules of the road and other drivers. The worst- China followed by America... (though I've not driven in any third world countries).

It doesn't matter where I grip the wheel (5, Funny)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468897)

My fingers still get crushed when I start moving.

One hand at 6:00... (1)

Laughing Dog (913885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468899)

... for cruising. If I need extra control, I'm still in the habit of 10:00 and 2:00. Honestly, I'd rather my arms or hands be hurt in a crash than my head crack the windshield or my ribcage break apart on the steering wheel, so I'll keep the airbags. (A seatbelt, while important to keep from flying out of the car and getting personal with the pavement, doesn't provide great protection against smashing against hard objects within the car.) My hands are softer than the steering wheel; if something's going to hit my face, I prefer the former over the latter.

Re:One hand at 6:00... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469161)

The other thing to consider is that impacts at highway speeds are not particularly survivable, and if they are you will be more worried about how much brain is left in your skull than a broken or torn off arm. The sort of impact where a broken arm might be your biggest worry is where you've had time to hit the brakes and/or swerve before impact, in which case your hands probably won't be in your preferred "cruising" position at the time of impact anyway.

I already do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468909)

I was listening to a radio program that explained this while I was in the car. I looked at what I was doing, and realized I already had my hands in the 9 and 3 positions most of the time. 10 and 2 o'clock always seemed less comfortable.

Left hand, 6 o'clock.... (1)

justcauseisjustthat (1150803) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468915)

Left hand, 6 o'clock and the other on my smart phone/radio/environmental controls/turn signal/food or joy stick.

8 and nothing, or 8 and 2 (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468931)

Left elbow on door armrest, holding steering wheel if cruising. Add right hand at 2 if maneuvering.

You all drive on the wrong side of the road anyway (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468933)

I come from New Zealand, which is a British Commonwealth country. We drive on the left side of the road.
(it dates back to the days (and knights) of old, when a rider would want to meet an approaching rider on his right side where he could use his sword (or lance) if necessary.

And when I learned to drive, it was at a quarter to 3, and the left foot was for the clutch.

Re:You all drive on the wrong side of the road any (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469171)

One of my first cars was a HR Holden, one hand on the wheel, the other on the gearstick to stop it popping out of thitd gear.

Stupid units (5, Funny)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468941)

For decades, the standard instruction was that drivers should hold the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions, as envisioned on a clock.

What is with you Americans having to use these stupid units for everything? Is it that hard to say pi/6 and 5*pi/6 that everyone can understand?

Re:Stupid units (5, Funny)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469133)

Now that complaint is just plain irrational.

Re-think seat position. (-1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468951)

I also drive with my seat pushed farther forward than most people like.

Assuming you can still reach the pedals, you might want to consider sliding your seat back so your arms are almost straight, otherwise be prepared to get seriously impaled (and/or killed) by the airbag or steering wheel in an accident. If you cannot reach the pedals in this position, get pedal extenders.

Re:Re-think seat position. (1)

Tim12s (209786) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469075)

You should never be able to straighten your arms when holding your steering wheel... EVER. If you crash you want slightly bent arms so that the impact doesnt cause your arm bones to shatter.

If you must push your seat back (long legs), then adjust the steering wheel and pull it closer to you (assuming you have an adjustable steering wheel).

1995 called.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468959)

It wants its obvious "news" back.

Watch professional racers (5, Informative)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468967)

They have their hands at 3 and 9 usually. That has the most control.

Professional crashers (yes, they exist) put their hands up at the sides of their head.

For the most control, you should sit close enough to the steering wheel that your shoulders remain against the seat. Sit upright, not leaning back. Make sure your legs are close enough that you can easily flatten the brake pedal to the floor.

Shorter-armed drivers should be careful, though. Sitting too close to an airbag is bad. 10 inches to the sternum is the minimum safe distance. Most of us drive easily farther away than that.

Smaller airbags would help... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468969)

From what I understand, European airbags are typically less powerful than US airbags - because we tend to wear seatbelts, so the airbag has less to do.

George Carlin (3, Funny)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468975)

I always liked George Carlin's advice:

They tell you put 'em at ten o'clock and two o'clock. Never mind that. I put mine at 9:45 and 2:17. Gives me an extra half hour to get where I'm goin'.

one knee at 5 o'clock (1)

issicus (2031176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468979)

it's the only way to drive.

how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468985)

not f'ing driving at all! f'ing cagers!

Two decades of 9 and 3. (2)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468989)

Our driver's ed instructor about 20 years said 9 and 3, and specifically said NOT to follow the 10 and 2 advice. Good on him.

Mainly a US problem? (2, Interesting)

uncle slacky (1125953) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468995)

I suspect that this is a bigger problem in the US than elsewhere, as their airbags have to be so much more powerful than (for example) European ones as the manufacturers can't assume that you're wearing a seatbelt (a legal requirement in most of the civilised world).

Re:Mainly a US problem? (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469041)

Having observed my native land America I can't say that someone not wearing a seat belt is such a rare occurrence

Hands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39468997)

Nineteen to the dozen!

Big brother doesn't trust you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39469003)

If everyone wore their seatbelts the government admits that we wouldn't need airbags. The advice to move our hands on the steering wheel is an admission that airbags are dangerous. How about we make ourselves safer and save some money and give up on airbags.

http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/roadsafety/tp-tp2436-rs200103-menu-125.htm [tc.gc.ca]

Wow... Really? (2)

FreedomOfThought (2544248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469013)

The last driver's safety course I took to lower my insurance premiums had already been updated on this news several years ago. Even Drivers Education classes in High School had already began to teach new methods.

one holding a cigarette the other a cell phone (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469021)

One hand holding a cigarette and the other hand holding a cell phone. I learned to drive from a New York taxi.

Troubling outcome (1)

Xenious (24845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469035)

This is another troubling outcome of trying to alter the optimum behavior for control to accommodate for over-done safety or security. Maybe the intensity of the airbag or placement can be modified so that the optimal place for controlling the wheel is still used?

Surely the government wouldn't mandate an over achieving potentially harmful design in the name of security would they?

9-3 4tw! (1)

MadCat (796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469079)

9-3 for me. I learned 10-2 but it's uncomfortable. I've got long legs so I need to rack the seat back all the way to be comfortable on the pedals, so 9-3 is about the best spot to be for holding the wheel.

I do think that any lower than 9-3 is dangerous, since it won't let you react very quickly since your hands are in a position where you have to think about what you're doing instead of just having things happen on reflex.

Bard Style (1)

braddyb7 (2224528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469083)

Right elbow on window sill / hanging out window, with wheel spoke between right thumb and forefinger, and wheel between forefinger and middle finger. Seems natural and comfortable. Left hand goes where it pleases, which is generally on the gear stick. Though it does like to wander on occasion. Both hands usually hold the wheel at 9 and 3 with thumbs resting on the top of the spokes when driving fast down country lanes.

So, I drive at 12 and nothing... (1)

ToiletBomber (2269914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469105)

...so does that mean if the airbag deploys, I'll end up punching myself in the face?

MSNBC - only a few years behind (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469115)

I'm surprised MSNBC picked up on this advice, it's only been around for a decade or two. Usually they aren't that quick on the uptake.

I'm a Slouch Driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39469123)

So I am usually slouched against the door-jamb and door-side seatback. I hold the wheel with door-side hand thumb about eight o'clock and forefinger about ten o'clock, elbow on arm-rest, or with four fingers in the wheel at about six o'clock, or with my non-throttle knee ranging between five and seven, with the throttle-foot knee up momentarily when I need to shift my steering knee for a new grip to set for a corner. When I drive so I have to pay attention I drive with two fingers in the steering-wheel spokes for fast counter-steer adjusting, and the other hand on the shifter, since then I'm using gears (and I don't have anything new enough to have paddle-shifting).

The airbag I ignore. I suppose I should be more aware of it, especially when I am pouring coffee in the morning, with mug in one hand and thermos in the other. But I am pretty careful then to have enough room to finish my pour before I will need to brake. When not pouring I can put the thermos in what used to be the beer position and hold the mug clear, steering, or holding against brake pull (in bumper-to-bumper traffic), with the thermos hand. No problem then, normally, but if a bupber-tap ever launched an airbag I could get scalded, couldn't I?

I've been driving these ways for decades and for millions of miles. Being still alive, despite the government's chicken-little flutterings, I think my best course is to disconnect my airbags. I appreciate your bringing my attention to this. Thanks for the tip to get me to think to.

It always varies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39469129)

I change my hand position depending on what I'm doing while driving down the road. Hardly any traffic? One hand at 3 and other on the knee. Need to steady the car? 4 and 8 maybe or 3 and 9. Tight turn in a parking lot? One handed and doing a palm-roll or whatever you call that when you don't exactly grip the wheel but need to spin it quickly with the back of your hand.

One thing I do try to be consistent about is driving thumbs out. Don't do much off-road, but you never know when some stupid pot-hole might come up.

If there's anything most people consistently do wrong, it's the adjustment of the driver's side mirror. So many people have it looking at the side of their own car rather than the adjacent lane that it's crazy. Now if they move their ear to the window glass and otherwise adjust that mirror as usual (while the ear is kept against the glass), that mirror becomes a lot more useful when sitting in a normal position. Even when explained and demonstrated, some people still don't grasp the concept. (And no, in most cases the center mirror doesn't need the redundancy.)

One way to look at hand position... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39469131)

The lower your hands, the less leverage your forearms have on the steering wheel.

In effect, smoothed out driving whether the driver knows it or not.

Think about it: If you're driving in the rain, would you want your hands higher or lower? If you ripped the wheel one way to avoid a collision and rip back the other way (over correct), it could be ugly with all of that leverage the higher your hands are.

more dumb random thoughts (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469137)

why should I listen to a government organization that thinks my GPS should not have a moving map - it's laughable....

um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39469141)

why not just fix the f'in airbags to NOT cause more injury than they prevent???

should be a major multi-manufactorer recall

If i drove.. (1)

jmb1990 (1979110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469149)

If i drove.. I'd hold the steering wheel throughout the journey, not just at certain times.

Been There, Done That (2)

Retired Spy (1662229) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469151)

I've been through a frontend crash "at speed" complete with airbag deployment. The car was a writeoff afterwards. The impact was right on the nose. I always drive with my seat well back (I have fairly long legs) and a tight seatbelt (if you're going to use it, use it correctly). The little Dodge (and airbag) died saving me from injury. I walked away with a slightly dislocated neck, compressed ribs, and a small burn on the back of one hand from the airbag. Some observations: Holding the wheel at 12 o'clock would have broken my arm. Holding the wheel at 10 and 2 would possibly have broken wrists or arms. Gripping at 9 would probably have damaged my left hand when it hit the door. I *only* hold the wheel at 4-5 and 7-8 (or one hand at 6 on long drives). That still allows me to put more force into the wheel than my wife can in any position. If you need the extra leverage you can apply by holding the wheel at 3 and 9, then you have done something very, very wrong (or worse, stupid). When I drive, I try to avoid doing anything stupid. (And since you have to know, don't ever, ever, assume that a car on the freeway is moving in the direction of traffic.)

1 hand @ 7:30 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39469157)

1 hand @ 7:30. Ive had the airbag deploy on me before and all it did was damage some tissue in my hand and shoot the stuff that is in dynamite at my hand temporarily scarring it. Other than that and whiplash, just fine.

Hands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39469165)

I drive with my knee

This means nothing to me! (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469179)

I drive a 40-year-old car. Holding my hands in a certain position is the least of my problems, but usually they are at 9 and 3 because the steering wheel spokes are at 10 and 2 and each hand ends up an hour off when you hook your thumb. With +3 wheel fitment and no power steering, you have to hold on!
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