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The goal of positioning inside the car is intended to give you car control before anything else! If you do not have a crash, would that airbag not inflate to begin with?

And besides, you can be hurt in many different ways, and you can hurt others: Your passengers and other road users, if you cannot control your car.

The airbag is a safety device which, unless unbelted or seating extremlly crammed against the wheel, is going to save you.

About hand positions, 9 to-3 is best for control issues. During long drives, mainly on interstates, one could move his hands temporarly to 10 to-2. In both positions, the hands are not likely to be hurt. Only when placed higher, are the hands likely be hurt. 8 to-4 gives you the worst control and provides other risks of injury of causes other than the airbag.