Driver's Ed Has Led You Astray: Airbag-Equipped Cars Require a Different Hand Position
Injury risk from deploying airbags means the 10-and-2 position is out.
Driver-side airbags were first available on production vehicles back in 1975 (Oldsmobile being the first to offer the device), and now, 37 years later, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA have come to realize that the inclusion of a device propelled by superhot nitrogen gas flashes should change the way we hold the steering wheel.
The old 10-and-2 hand position is out, according to both groups and many driving instructors, due to the greater potential for hand, digit and facial injuries should the bags deploy. In short, airbags are designed to inflate upwards, at speeds of 150 to 250 mph, to protect the head and chest; with an elevated hand position, there is an increased chance of trauma to the hands and fingers -- resulting in amputations and even "de-gloving" (think of your skin as a glove and extrapolate that horrific meaning) in extreme cases. The 10-and-2 position also increases the risk of pushing the hands into the the face, resulting in broken noses, facial bones and concussions. The new recommendation is called "parallel position," meaning essentially 9-and-3. This decreases the chance that the hands find themselves in the path of the deploying airbag in the case of an accident.
The hand-over-hand turning method, too, is out, and for the same reason. Instead, it is recommended that drivers use a push-pull method, pulling the steering wheel down with one hand while pushing it up with the other.
i learned the 10-2 position, and it is hard getting used to the 9-3. with these newer steering wheels (like the one shown) its almost impossible to hold 10-2.
and i also learned the hand over hand method while turning that i now already find myself shuffling the steering wheel much like a old farmer does and i find it kind of awkward. (this article explains why they are making the steering wheel like the one shown, and i really did not know about the finger and hand damage that could be possible the old way. i have seen race car drivers take there hands off the steering wheel just before they expected a impact in a accident. the speed they drive really could break a wrist or something.)
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