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Study Suggests Drivers Keep Their Hands at the 9 and 3 Position of the Steering Wheel

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In contrast to the traditional 10 and 2 position, the 9 and 3 position is reportedly safer for drivers

Keeping your arms parallel to each other behind the wheel is the way to go

When you were in driving school, your instructor likely taught you to keep your hands at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions of the steering wheel. However, research conducted by AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that following those instructions to a tee can be detrimental to you, instead recommending you keep your hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions.


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In the past, having your hands placed at 10 and 2 o’clock allowed for a tighter control of the vehicle’s steering. As vehicles evolved over the decades, it became easier to have the same amount of control while having your hands at a “parallel position” of 9 and 3 o’clock.

Another reason why you should move your hands down the steering wheel is the airbags housed within the wheel. Those airbags deploy at speeds of up to 250 mph, and if you arms are in the way, it can cause some serious injuries, up to and including broken limbs and even amputations.


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Experts warn drivers not to lower their hands more than 9 and 3, though. Even at the 8 and 4 o’clock positions, it’s harder to properly maintain a control of the wheel.

To move your arms out of the trajectory of the airbags, you should also avoid “hand over hand” turning methods, also known as “ship captain” style. Instead, the experts advise you to push the wheel up with one hand and pull it down with the other. That way, your hands are never crossing over.

Because many drivers are so used to the traditional 10 and 2 o’clock method, it can be difficult for them to move away from it. But as the design of vehicles evolve, it is essential for the way we drive to evolve along with them.

Source: NBC News