The proper hand position on the steering wheel is very important for safe driving. Also, it affects the quickness of your response to dangerous situations on the road.

Engineering Discoveries would like to tell you about how to position your hands on the steering wheel and why you shouldn’t ignore experts’ recommendations.

Why it’s important to hold the steering wheel properly

Researchers from Hiroshima University and the Nagoya Institute of Technology found that the position of your hands on the steering wheel significantly affects how easy it is for you to drive. If your hands are in the wrong position, you may overestimate your ability to perform a particular maneuver safely.

Using just one hand to steer a vehicle is considered unsafe. This is due to the fact that if the airbag is deployed, the driver’s own hand may punch them in the face, causing even more injuries.

The safest position of the hands is the technique known as “9 and 3.” Imagine a watch face in front of you. Place your left hand on the left side of the steering wheel, approximately in the place where the 9 would be located. Place your right hand on the right side of the steering wheel in the place where the 3 would be located.

This hand position allows for an easy and efficient rotation of the steering wheel while maintaining safe driving.

Pay attention to the position of your thumbs when gripping the steering wheel. If you are driving on smooth pavement, hook your thumbs around the steering wheel. If driving off-road, slightly release the thumbs to help you stabilize the wheel on rough roads.

How you should turn the steering wheel

Don’t remove your hands from the steering wheel while driving. Use the following methods to turn the steering wheel.

  • Push and pull: This method can be useful when making smaller turns. To use it, push the steering wheel in the direction you want to turn with one hand, grab it with the other hand and pull it further. Your hands should not cross.

Example: When turning right, you’ll need to push the steering wheel with your left hand and then pull it with your right hand in the same direction.

  • Hand over hand: This method allows you to turn the steering wheel within a short span of time. It’s best when the driver is expecting a sharp turn. While keeping your hands in the standard position, start turning the steering wheel in the direction you want to turn your car until one of your hands is on the opposite side. At this point, release the hand that ended up at the bottom and move it to the 12 o’clock position. Continue turning the wheel if necessary. After turning, loosen the grip. The steering wheel will return to its original position.

Example: When turning right, position your hands at “9 and 3.” As you turn the steering wheel to the right, wait until your left-hand reaches the 2 to 3 o’clock position. After that, move the right hand, which is at the bottom now, to the 12 o’clock position and continue turning the wheel if necessary.

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