Where Should Your Hands Be on the Steering Wheel?
December 6th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Steering wheel hand position is an important consideration any time you are behind the wheel. You can safely navigate your vehicle with proper hand placement for driving. Best of all, you’ll be well-equipped to steer clear of collisions.
What Is the Ideal Steering Wheel Hand Placement?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends placing both hands on the outside of the steering wheel, on opposite sides, at the “9 o’clock and 3 o’clock” position. In this position, your hands are well-placed to control your car and the risk of injury is limited if your airbag is activated due to a collision.
NHTSA also recommends you maintain a firm but gentle grip on the steering wheel. You should use your fingers to control the steering wheel, keep your thumbs along the face of the wheel, and avoid turning the wheel while gripping the inside of its rim.
Types of Steering Methods
There are three types of steering methods:
Hand-to-hand is the preferred method of steering for most drivers, according to NHTSA. Also referred to as push/pull steering, the hand-to-hand steering method involves placing your left hand between 7 and 8 o’clock and your right hand between 4 and 5 o’clock on your steering wheel.
With this method, your right or left hand pushes your steering wheel up or down as the opposite hand moves up, depending on the direction you turn your vehicle. As your pulling hand turns down, the pushing hand moves back into its original position on the wheel.
NHTSA states that hand-over-hand steering is ideal when turning at low speeds in areas where there is limited visibility, when parking a vehicle, or when recovering from a skid. It involves grasping the steering wheel between 8 and 9 o’clock with your left hand and 3 and 4 o’clock with your right hand.
When using this method, you should use the right top third of your steering wheel to move to the right or the left top third of the wheel to move to the left. To turn, use your right or left hand to grasp the steering wheel and push up. You should remove your opposite hand from the wheel, reach across your other arm, grab the wheel, and pull the wheel up, over, or down as required. Then, you can remove your pushing hand from the wheel and return it to its original position.
3. One-Hand Steering
One-hand steering may be required if you are backing your car out of a driveway or parking spot or need to activate your vehicle’s flashers, windshield wipers, or other controls. It involves placing one hand on your steering wheel to maintain balance while you’re on the road.
When you are steering your car with one hand, you should keep it in the normal vehicle position of 9 o’clock or 3 o’clock. This allows you to keep your car stable and lower your risk of veering off the road or into traffic and causing a collision.
Tips for Holding Your Steering Wheel Properly
Properly holding your car’s steering wheel is paramount. Now, let’s look at three things you can do to ensure you properly hold your steering wheel any time you drive:
1. Adjust Your Steering Column and Steering Wheel
Along with adjusting your car’s mirrors, headrest, and seat to accommodate your height, you should adjust your steering column and steering wheel as needed. Most cars let you move the steering column up and down. Some cars enable you to move your steering wheel closer or further away from your dashboard.
2. Drive with Your Hands at 9 and 3 o’clock
Although NHTSA previously recommended keeping the hands at 10 and 2 o’clock when driving, you should follow the agency’s latest recommendation of keeping the hands at 9 and 3 o’clock. Driving with the hands at 10 and 2 o’clock can be dangerous in cars with small steering wheels, and it can contribute to airbag-related injuries following a collision.
3. Keep Your Hands on Your Steering Wheel During Turns
The hand-to-hand steering method allows you to safely turn your car’s steering wheel while keeping both hands in contact with it. As such, you should use the hand-to-hand method every time you turn.
However, even if you steer your car properly, you may be involved in a collision. Fix Auto can help repair your car. Our certified auto body technicians can fix or replace your bumper, fender, or other damaged car exterior components. To learn more or to schedule a service appointment, please contact us online or call us today at 800.INFO.FIX.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Temecula, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing Murrieta.
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