“10 o’clock and 2 o’clock” is wrong and dangerous, according to AAA

AAA Insurance is recommending that people change their driving style, in particular how they hold the steering wheel.

The conventional wisdom that the best way to grip a steering wheel is to put one’s hands at “10 o’clock and 2 o’clock” is wrong and dangerous, according to AAA.

AAA Manager of Driver Training Operations William Van Tassel, PhD, explains in the video below that “10 and 2″ dates from the era before power steering. Turning the wheel required more force then, and pulling down on it was the easiest way to do it.

But easy-to-turn wheels and airbags have changed the logic. If the driver’s hands are at the top of the wheel when the wheel-mounted airbag deploys, they are likely to be knocked into his face. If they are at the bottom of the wheel, they will be sent sideways, and do no further damage.

The better hand positions, Tassel says, are 9 and 3 or 8 and 4, where they are out of the way and still in control.

Seems a bit gay…here is their video.

What do you guys think?

  • Stuart Dumphries

    What about this…

    http://bit.ly/XPv40s

  • thor42

    “8 and 4″ means you have naff-all control – definitely less than “10 and 2″.
    “9 and 3″ is probably ok, but nothing below that.

  • Greg

    I just want people to drive faster than 80km per hour on the main highway.

    • Pissedoffyouth

      Good luck with that – it’s only going to get worse as the baby boomers all retire and drive slower

  • Toddus

    I think the crucial thing is how you control the steering wheel via steering manoeuvres and the 10 to 2 hand position is optimal for that. Holding the steering wheel while driving in a straight line is one thing, but then it’s about response to an emergency that is perhaps the most important aspect for hand position.

    • thor42

      Agreed. “10 and 2″ (or thereabouts) gives you lots of leverage in a hurry. “8 and 4″ gives you almost none – I can’t believe they even suggested that…..

  • redeye

    And what’s the preferred position when you’re sun baking your right arm?

  • backster

    I heard a radio programme once recommending the 8-4 position because it involved less stress and fatigue. I tried it over a long trip and the difference was quite considerable. I always now use that position.

    • Michael

      I think it makes sense to be at 8 and 4 if you have a car with power steering – when you are typing or mousing the advice is to keep your hands level with you elbows to prevent fatigue, so doing the same with the driving should do the same. It might mean having the seat back further.

  • Moaning Greasy Flyblow

    and how is that going to work if you’re gettin a little lovin on the job?

  • Rodger T

    Yeah, I`ve known this for years,that`s why I only drive with one hand on the wheel and I put it where ever I fucking want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.gregory.0 Richard Gregory

    The position shown in the video is 7 & 5 – still wrong. 9 & 3 is about perfect – ask any competitive driver. 8 & 4 is a bit low, although 8.30-3.30 can work for longer hauls. 10 & 2 is grandad teaching his grandkids – plain wrong, but try telling him that. Try driving a truck or bus that way!!

  • Hazards001

    “But easy-to-turn wheels and airbags have changed the logic. If the driver’s hands are at the top of the wheel when the wheel-mounted airbag deploys, they are likely to be knocked into his face.”
    Replace the poofy cushion with a sharpened to a point steel spike. Then watch the accident rate go screaming down!

  • nat187

    many people with back and shoulder posture issues should drive long distances at 8 & 4, this prevents rolling over of the shoulders etc

  • Patrick

    I find using my knees is the best – that leaves my hands free to text & make calls on my mobile. Is also the best if eating a pie while driving.

  • Saccharomyces

    9&3 for twisties, 8&4 for flat, straightish stuff.

  • GregM

    4 O’clock, other hand is for the ciggy and stereo.

  • Mr_Blobby

    Personally I just want to be able to drive faster.

    And for those of you that need some guidance right elbow resting on the driver window sill, thumb and forefinger holding the wheel at 3 o’clock. Don’t ask about the left hand, mind your own business.

  • Bunswalla

    My steering wheel is digital – what the fuck is all this 10 and 2 bollocks?

  • Dr Stoat

    8-4 is where UK specialist traffic police drivers are trained to hold the wheel; more control, apparently.

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