Proper driving position

Proper driving position

A proper driving position will improve your outlook - and safety

If you think proper driving position means having your hands positioned at "10 and 2 o'clock" on the steering wheel (as they taught you in driver's-education class), get with the times! You see, automobiles have changed considerably in the past few years... and therefore, so should your driving habits.

Relax - the changes are minor, and they can actually increase your driving safety and comfort, which will come in handy on those long road trips.

Nowadays you should:

Sit slightly reclined with your shoulders comfortably back in the seat. Sit as far back from the steering wheel as possible while still remaining in safe control of the vehicle.

Hold the outside rim of the steering wheel at "9 and 3 o'clock" or slightly lower. This position will minimize the risk of injury to your arms, hands and fingers in case your airbag deploys. Your arms should be bent slightly.

Be able to pivot your right foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal without lifting your heel from the floor.

Not checking your "blind spots" - those areas just outside the field of vision - can have disastrous effects when merging onto the highway or changing lanes. In fact, thousands of accidents occur each year because people who are changing lanes fail to see a vehicle that is right next to them before making such maneuvers! One of the ways you can protect yourself is to make sure your vehicle's side and rearview mirrors are positioned for maximum road view.

For the driver's side mirror: Place the side of your head against the window, then adjust the mirror until the side of your vehicle comes into view. For the passenger's side mirror: While sitting in the driver's seat, lean to the right so that your head is in the car's centerline. Adjust the mirror until the side of your vehicle comes into view.

There's an easy test you can take to make sure your mirrors are aligned correctly: When a vehicle leaves the field of vision of your rearview mirror, you should be able to see it immediately in one of your side mirrors.

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Hand at 9 to-3 or just slightly higher, at 10 to-2.

If not placed above the 11 and 1 O'Clock hours, the chances of the arms to be injured in this case are minimal, while control over the wheel, which will help to prevent the airbag from deploying to begin with, will be maximized. An 8 to-4 grip allows for the worst control, and that's the most important thing.

About the mirrors: just open them to the point where the car's edge is bearly visible, or not seen at all.

i started drivers ed. they want me to put my hands at a 8-4 position. sometimes if im doing down a straight flat road, i would do a 7-5 position if i dont get caught.

my friends wrong. he said 9 and 3 and i said 10 and 2.

Starting with what is right with the posting, The side rear view mirrors adjustment is spot on and is recommended by SAE and I have seen AAA leaflets about the same.

The missing adjustment in your statement, AA and the SAE is the position of the inside rear view mirror. The driver should be able to see himself in the mirror so it should be adjusted toward the passenger side and then, depending on the size of the mirror, the vehicle will never leave the driver sight and will travel from the inner mirror to his peripheral vision and the side view mirror at about the same time.

You do not need the cost of a blind spot radar to avoid the blind spot zone not to mention that these detectors actually distract drivers by blinking on and off during rush hour.

The Hands On Wheel position statement is totally junk science. The hands MUST BE BETWEEN 9:15 and 10:02 AND the Hand must grip the steering wheel all the time and not just touch it. Placing the hands any lower will cause poor steering control especially during emergency maneuvers.

All the talk about airbag causing broken arms and fingers from the 10:02 to 9:03 is just rumors. Airbags explode vertically toward the driver then horizontally to cover the steering wheel and they are mostly circular and will cover the entire steering wheel no matter what

Mouhamad A. Naboulsi
President, iQ-Telematics.
Member of SAE Safety and Human Factor Committee

We seem to agree. Nevertheless, I don't see a point for the 'liberalism', so to speak, as practiced towards a 10:02 position. I mean, why to state that "the hands must be between 9:15 to 10:02," if it is clear that the optimal positioning is ONLY at 9:15, and not higher?

I do acknowledge that a 10:02 grip might be necessary for smaller people, with a narrow body relative to the steering wheel, but with modern steering rims and adjustment abilites, this is purely an extremity. Most people would find the optimum control only at 9 and 3.

A 10:02 grip is strictly a traditional grip. It stems from the 70's and 80's where awareness to safety was lower and, when cars had heavy steering mechanisms and big rims, without airbags and without the seating adjustments that make modern cars so comfortable to sit in.

The result, in those cars, were that holding the wheel at 9 to-3 would have resulted in opening the arms beyond the width of the shoulders, reducing their leverage and amplitude. Holding the wheel high (at 10:02 or higher) allowed to rest the weight of the arms over the rim and turn it by using the shoulders to "push" the wheel, and caused no trouble with the airbags (that were not applied in cars) or with the reach of the controls, as the blinkers and wipers were intentionally bent upwards to fit this grip and even under all of these limitations - it was arguable whether such a grip is indeed preferable to holding the wheel at 9:15.

In a modern car, in 9:15 grip is such that allows both arms to operate as equall weights on both sides of the wheel, even while turning it. The rims are adjusted to support such a grip with "sockets" for the thumbs over the spokes of the wheel and with the wiper and signal controls being instantly reachable by the fingers. In this position, the amplitude for quick steering (for avoidance purposes) increases to a total of 260 degrees in each direction, instead of about 180 degrees in 10:02. So, why to even consider holding the wheel at 10:02?

Let's think about this...when people are talking about steering wheel grip and 10-2 vs 9-3, where the heck did 9:15 and 10:02 come in? I can see 9:15 being mistaken for 9-3, but what the heck is 10:02?? Since this is related to positions on a clock, 10:02 would mean the right hand is the tiniest bit right of top center. Who drives like that? And anyone who says the correct position is anything other than 9 and 3 would fail a driving test. Update your info.

I personally prefer 11:59 and 12:01, really good if you have interlocking fingers. Honestly guys it should just be what the driver finds comfortable. Similar to writing if you hold the pen in the wrong way it can be extremely uncomfortable to try and write in the "official manner". People need to just find what they prefer and drive, it's not rocket science.

It's not rocket science, but it is science. Physics, to be exact.

With the hands as far from each other as possible, they form a wider, more stable base. If you hold the wheel any higher or lower, gravity would make the grip be much less stable.

It's like gripping a motorcycle's bars. Holding them on both sides is much more stable than holding them near the center. It's more stable that way.

It can also be described this way: The further one hand is from the other, the better they balance each other (due to the bigger leverage). The closer they are (if you hold the wheel high) makes them function like one big hand rather than two hands.

The extreme is locating both hands together at the top of the wheel, which undoubtedly not stable. Holding the wheel at ten and two is just like that, only less extreme.

It is in no way a matter of comfort or personal preference. 9 to-3 is OBJECTIVELY preferred over any other kind of grip. Holding the wheel slightly above or below this height is relevant only in extreme circumstances, like when the driver has an unusual stature (too short, too skinny) or if there is something unusual about the shape or size of the steering wheel or the sitting position in general.

Once upon a time, steering wheels were much wider and this meant that when holding the wheel at 9 and 3, the hands were spread too far apart, because the wheel was wider that most people shoulder width, so people used to hold the wheel higher.

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