Holding the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o'clock is no longer recommended

8 & 4! 8 & 4! (Via Doobybrain)

See also: Adjust a car's sideview mirrors to eliminate blind spots


    1. Video says ‘if the airbag deploys, it is more likely that the driver’s forearm will be blown into their face’, my EMT buddy says ” Preventing your arms from being rammed through your eye sockets by the airbag”

      So I think he’s seen that once or twice.

      I’ve been driving with my hands down low for years, I just need to make driving with Both hands a more serious habit

      1. That was a new explanation to me.  That hands at 10 & 2 would get blown out of the way by the airbag, sure, but the mental image of one’s hands being blown *into one’s face* is a much better warning….the sort of thing one’s teenage children are more likely to remember.

        1. The problem comes in a turn and that is where most airbag releasing accidents happen. With your hands at10/2, your more likely to have an arm in front of the airbag when pulling the wheel around and then this pushes your arm or hand straight back, often breaking your nose.

          1. Oooohhhh….heavens, you are right!  My preferred position is 6:30, followed by 9, followed by 9 & 3, but I learned to drive in the prehistoric years with large steering wheels and no power assist, so when I turn, I still instinctively cross over the top.  Thank you. I will pay more attention from now on and break myself of that habit.

      2. As a major pothead (in a former life), I used to drive with my knee at 7.  I’ve since made driving with at least one hand a serious habit.

  1. I hold the wheel at 630 with my left hand, and keep my right hand on my lap ready to change gears, because I drive stick.

    1. even when driving stick… 9 and 3 is always and has always been the best way to hold the wheel
      I do not know where the 10 and 2 shit is from but I have NEVER seen any serious driver handling a wheel in any other way
      and even when driving stick 2 hands on the wheel are very important, because the unexpected happening is mostly something bad happening

        1.  My grandfather told me 10 and 4 when he first taught me to drive.  My driver’s ed instructor said 9 and 3, though.

          1. I’m 40, but I was taught 9/3 when I was 15. They made a point of explains this was a change and that our folks and older friends might try to tell us it was wrong.

          2. Racing drivers rarely drive under 150 mph and get into fairly regular crashes. They also overtake on both sides.

          3. Rarely under 150? You don’t watch a lot of racing, do you? I think the key here is that race cars do not have airbags, and the drivers wear safety equipment and 5 point harnesses. The cars are also designed to be incredibly safe-far more than a road driver would tolerate. 

        2.  My drivers’ ed instructor, about thirty years ago, explained that the real position was 9 and 3, but they started the students at 10 and 2 – knowing that their hands would slide down to 9 and 3 after a while.

      1. Well yeah, 9 and 3 is how you and me drive, but that’s because we’re trying to maintain precise control while going as fast as we possibly can.

        I don’t think that’s generally recommended.

        1. I’d accuse you of being a communist and a girly man, but I’m both of those and I drive just like that.

        2. I drive with my hands at 9 and 3, but that’s because my car is so ancient that it doesn’t have airbags, so I’m not worried about having my thumbs broken or my finger thrust into my eyesocket by the airbag in case of an accident. My policy, instead, is to try to drive carefully to avoid accidents.

        1. That is very impressive. It looks like she’s done it there a number of times before, no one seemed to be too bothered about someone taking their food with their foot.

    1.  At the end of your left leg.  If you look inside your sock just below the ankle you should be able to locate it.  You might have to take a shoe off first.

    1. That’s oldschool.  Get on the Siri bandwagon and get a windscreen mount for your phone.  Then your hands are free to hold a bowl of cereal (or stir-fried rice, but it’s a tiny bit tricky to eat while driving) while you drive with your knees.  Bonus points if you’ve got a car with the microwave/laser-adjusted cruise control.

  2. I am tall and drive a small car, so if I puts my hands in that position my legs and belly gets in the ways of my arms movements.

  3. It looks as though one of those steering wheels was designed with 10/4 in mind, considering the position of the buttons. One was obviously designed for 9/3.

    1. and think for steering wheel shift paddles…
      all made for 9/3
      there are even wheels who do not allow any other fixed position, though they are not usually applied on street/road cars

  4. And I guess they also changed their minds about not wrapping one’s thumbs around the steering wheel, hmmm?  The airbag will hold the torso and head in place.  You still stand a peachy chance of breaking both thumbs.

    1. Loved the one on my ’68 F250.  The worm-and-sector steering gave it a bit of a school bus vibe, though I’d always pretend I was Kris Kristofferson in Convoy.

  5. 9 and 3 gives you the most range to turn in either direction. High performance driving instructors will teach you to adjust where your hands are ahead of time so that you are at 9 and 3 once you are in the turn, so that you have the most control possible.

    1.  I’d imagine there are plenty of classes where neither the students nor the teachers read the handbook.

      1.  The coach that “taught” our class didn’t even make us come to class if we already had our license.  The driving age here then was 15, 14 1/2 with a work permit; and driver’s ed was a second semester freshman+ class. Go figure…

  6. People drive with both hands?  From what I see on the road people can’t be bothered to get off their phone long enough to drive.  I don’t care if you are using one hand or a knee, just mash that far right pedal down and lets GO.

  7. Interesting. Though, I’m still going to keep driving at ten and two. Not because of anything silly like “oh, but it’s how I learned” or “It’s just a habit”, but because I drive a raggedy-ass old 1990 Nissan Vanette, with no power steering(and heavy steering to boot), and no airbags. It’s also got a throttle stiffer than Peter North and a clutch so heavy that my left leg is getting ready to win the Mr Universe competition. Still, I like it. And it’s the same model of vehicle as the Transformer “Ironhide” from the cartoon, so that’s a bonus.

    1. That’s what I always thought of 10 & 2, that it’s from back when you had to fucking wrestle your vehicle until you hit the highway, and parking lots could turn my 71 IH Travelall into an extreme full body workout. 

      But with todays cars you really never, ever will find yourself cussing and telling yourself to “put your back into it, think you a man!” just to get into a good spot in the parking garage.

      Never need to go overhand unless you just like to or something, in a modern (automatic) I could drive with my dick if I was in a good mood and both arms were broken

    2. You’ve nearly perfectly described driving the 1977 280Z I used to have.  I couldn’t parallel park that beast to save my life.  This was also the first car that I owned which seemed explicitly designed to be driven with hands at 9 and 3.  

      1. Oh man, I didn’t own a 280Z, but my father owned an old 260Z, It’s the car I learned to drive in. Another mate from after we all had our licenses owned a 280Z – God, they were wonderful machines. Except the wiring harness, which was apparently designed by a small amazonian monkey dropping frequent hits of acid. The first car I ever owned and bought with my own money? A Leyland Mini Clubman in Electric blue with a tuned up 1275 racing engine. Good lord, that thing was a fucking rocket.

        I don’t have much trouble Parallel parking the Van (or the 2xxZ series, for the most part), but I don’t know why that is – and most of the trouble with the van is that it’s like trying to parallel park a small apartment building for relative size. Probably just practice and technique, I guess, the majority of cars I’ve driven haven’t had power steering.

        1. If it completes the picture a bit better, keep in mind that I’m an average height, below average weight USian lady.  The clutch being heavy wasn’t nearly as problematic as turning that damned steering wheel at 0 mph.  Electrical wasn’t as bad as the poor quality sheet metal the body was made from.  It was rather annoying that there was more than a mile of wire in that car, though.

  8. Man, this is like my Driver’s Ed handbook that defined “oversteer” as “the tendency of new drivers to turn the wheel too much.” So much horrible technique in this video.

    Hands should be at 9 and 3, and never hand over hand. Move one hand at a time, and as has been mentioned, move your hands *before* the turn so you’re at 9 and 3 during the turn.

    Keep your thumbs out of the wheel under all circumstances, hitting something can cause the wheel to spin fast enough to break them, assuming the airbag doesn’t do the same.

    This is what I learned and taught at the track, and once you start doing it, every thing else seems foolish.

    1. Also:  “The Passenger Light has illuminated.  Put both feet in, and wait for the bumping to stop”

  9. For me it always depended on my car.  I’m 6’2″ with fairly long arms, and I vary my hands’ positions during long drives.  My 1970 Cougar has fairly sensitive steering and a skinny rim-blow steering wheel (ha ha, very funny, it just means the horn switch is a rubber ring along the inside circumference of the wheel), so I usually stay close to 10 and 2 as a compromise between control and comfort (the wheel spokes are uncomfortably close for a 9 and 3 grip).  My 2007 RAV4 feels best at 9 and 3, as does our 2004 Sienna.  My 1987 Jag XJ6 had a telescoping column, so I’d usually keep it as far away as possible and steer with my left hand near 11.  I’d do the same with all my stick-shift cars.

    I typically won’t buy a car I can’t steer for a few seconds with my knees, but that hasn’t been an issue yet.  I’ve never driven a car where I didn’t have to shove the seat all the way back.

    1. Makes me wish for a rethink of automobile user interfaces. If the airbag has to be directly in front of the driver could the steering be somewhere else, like the joystick in a glider?

      1. Been there done that, went bankrupt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_9000#Prometheus_.28prototype.29

    2.  From now on, I will follow your directions…or at the very least not directly contradict them.  I will drive with my knees from now on.  No more touching the wheel for me.

  10. No advocates here for left knee on 7?

    Pity, frees up your hands to do something distracting!

  11. Surely the way you hold the wheel depends a *lot* on what kind of driving you’re doing, no?  I’d find it rather odd if the drivers on a track were doing the same thing I did on a 9 hour road trip.

  12. I heard the guys on Car Talk explain how to do your mirrors.  You lean your head over to the left and adjust that mirror until it just shows a little of your car.  Then repeat on the right.  Now when you sit centered there should be almost no blind spot left.

    1. My commercial van has big mirrors and I have stuck a little wide angle mirror into the left (curbside) mirror to help the situation. By leaning forward and backwards in the driving seat I can get a pretty good idea that there is nothing to my left before merging but I still like to merge after passing a parked car. There is a partial blind spot there. The only other thing which helps is counting vehicles, as in now where did that blue corolla go?.

  13. The 8 and 4 steering wheel grip has been common in Italy for years. In fact, many older Italian cars have the steering wheels angled in such a way that 10 and 2 is downright awkward. My dad had an old Lancia like that, and it was hard to adjust to at first after learning to drive on American and English cars (I learned to drive on a Studebaker Lark that my dad bought for $35 in 1979, and on a Rover 2000TC (Google it), and my first car was an Austin Marina, the American import version of the Morris Marina, the car that the guys on BBC’s Top Gear love to drop pianos on). The other issue with the Lancia was it was right hand drive and had a 3-on-the-tree gear shifter on the left side of the steering column, so very little felt right about driving it at first. My dad never drove anything “normal”.

  14. 8 and 4 definitely does not increase control. You will never ever see a race car driver using that grip.

  15. I was told this quite a few years ago during school, our entire year went to an information day on car safety, emergency workers said it was kind of handy when accidents happened during 10 & 2 driving, as you could see the time of the crash from the indent of the watch on the forehead

  16. Looks like another reason to disconnect the steering wheel airbag to me.
    On initial impact airbag goes off, directional control of the vehicle is lost, car is full of dust/smoke.
    Good luck seeing and getting out of the way of the tandem gravel truck bearing down upon the accident scene.

    Get you hands out of your lap, wear the belt restraint, keep your hands on the wheel 9 & 3.

    Pay attention and drive.

    1. On impact, there’s something blocking your car from being able to manoever out of the situation.  Like, another car or a tree or a truck.  That’s kind of the definition of the word “impact”.  Something has just stopped your car by coming in direct contact with it.

      Airbags only deploy at a certain speed.  Hitting bumpers at 15 mph doesn’t cause them to deploy.

    2. Looks like another reason to disconnect the steering wheel airbag to me.

      Yeah, you can just replace them with hydrogen filled balloons to cushion you in the event of a crash.

      I worked in a hospital during the era of driver-side-only airbags.  The drivers came to us, the passengers to the morgue.

  17. This is completely idiotic and dangerous to tell people to switch.  If a 10 and 2 trained driver moves to 8 and 4 the action response to the need to swerve right will result in swerving left.  What a dangerous thing to tell people to do.  And this opens up AAA to liability lawsuits as well.

    1. If the first couple of times a driver makes a turn using this new style, they are going so quickly or otherwise are sufficiently out of control that they create that much error, then they are probably no stranger to causing accidents anyway.

      Besides, the hand movements (left/right) are the same, so the “swerve” isn’t in the opposite direction.  Which makes me wonder about your driving skills.

        1. You have a weird way of thinking about right/left in this instance.  To make the car go left while your hands are in 8 & 4, you must be thinking that you need to move your right hand upwards (with only the slightest sense of “moving right”) instead of pulling down on the steering wheel exactly the same way you do to turn right when your hands are at 10 & 2.  The movement of both hands is identical no matter where they are on the steering wheel (unless you do something stupid like criss-cross them).  Even if the steering wheel is fully horizontal, such as on a bus.

  18. I switched from the 10 & 2 we were taught to 8 & 4 very quickly because I find 10 & 2 very tiring.  I never found the slightest merit to 10 & 2 although I could see it being advantageous for someone with weak arms and no power steering.

  19. From what I remember of my EMT training, 10 and 2 is a good way to have the airbag deploy and break your arms by smashing them into your face.

  20. Yeah I’m totally punching myself in the face if the airbags go off. I tend to end up with my hand upside down on 12 and the other at 6 when cruising. I should probably correct that. 

  21. I don’t agree, I’m going to stick with the 2 and 10 o’clock position.  As if you need to make a sudden menova you can respond quicker.  I think by reducing the risk of an accident by driving correctly will be more beneficial.

  22. I actually mentioned “10 and 2″ to a friend of mine, and she said “What’s that?” and I said “Oh, it’s where they tell people to hold the wheel, but I hold it way lower so my arms don’t hit me if the airbag goes off.” and the concept of holding the wheel up so high seemed downright foreign to her. After that I started asking my other friends about 10 and 2, and none of them, besides one friend of mine had ever even heard of it.

    10 and 2 though, is a bad idea on so many levels. I see people do it all the time too.

Comments are closed.