Thursday, March 22, 2012

Was Driver's Ed Wrong?

If you have attended official driving classes, the information you learned may have been wrong.

According to MSNBC, and other sources, the advent of safer cars may mean your driving style is dangerously out of date.  Have you ever heard of the 10 o'clock & 2 o'clock positions?  That usually refers to the position of your hands on a steering wheel, if that steering wheel resembled the face of a clock. This was taught in almost all Driver's Ed classes until recently.  
Now, due to the advent and mass-production of much safer vehicles equipped with airbags, those hand positions may cost you an arm... quite literally.  
According to  AAA, in addition to severe hand and arm injuries, airbag detonations have also been known to slam arms and hands into a person's face, causing concussions, broken noses, and other related injuries.

The best position for your hands now is said to be the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock position.  Some sources even go one 'hour' lower and say the 8 o'clock and 4 o'clock position is ideal, although in studies the 8 and 4 position may decrease the control over your vehicle. In any case, should you get into an accident, these new positions should leave enough room for your airbag to deploy properly without causing you major injury.

An example of the "9 and 3" hand position.

According to the American Driver & Traffic Safety Education Administration, a proper handhold should be firm, yet relaxed; both hands positioned on the outside of the wheel; where your fingers maintain control the wheel instead of your palms, and thumbs should be in an upward position along the steering wheel's "face"; and lastly, make sure you never utilize the inside of your steering wheel to make a turn.  Keeping these tips in mind should decrease an airbag injury significantly in the case of an accident.

Were you taught the "hand-over-hand" turning style?  That can also cause you similar injuries.

Remember, if you have an air-bag equipped steering wheel, this turning style can cause you the same problems as the "10 and 2" driving position, and cause you serious injury.  The proper way to turn is now said to be the push-pull method, pushing up with one hand and pulling down with another.  
This will keep your airbag deploying properly, and make sure your airbag doesn't do you more harm than good.

References:  Article by M. Alex Johnson
Photo courtesy of

No comments:

Post a Comment