How to steer a car – part 2
The steering systems in cars have moved on, so has your steering technique kept pace? Here’s how to steer a car – Part 2
- Shuffle (sometimes known as push-pull steering, or push pull slide steering, or hand to hand steering, or fixed arm steering)
- Rotational (sometimes known as fixed-input steering or hand over hand steering)
What to use when
Other steering tips:
- Set your seat so you can reach the top of the steering wheel easily, without needing to lean forwards at all.
- Look where you want to go
- Grip the wheel firmly but gently. The steering wheel is for you to give input to the car, but also for the car to tell you what’s happening and you don’t want to mask that feedback.
- Thumbs shouldn’t be hooked over the spokes for offroad driving, but lightly along the rims is fine. Onroad you can hook thumbs lightly over the spokes. The danger of the wheel spinning out of control is much overrated in modern cars with power steering that damps kickback, and modern steering wheels covered with soft material. If you want to see where that advice came from drive a Series 1 Land Rover over rough ground. But that was 60 years ago…times move on but advice tends to lag.
- Everything you see in Fast and Furious is wrong. And 95% of other movies or TV programmes too.
- Never hook your hand under the steering wheel rim – you don’t need to do so, and you have limited control over the car, plus you are risking injury in the event an airbag goes off.
- Don’t let the wheel slide through your hands – it’s just not necessary, and you have limited control of the car.
Race drivers demonstrating rotational steering
If you want any onboard footage of professional racing drivers you’ll see they use rotational, and a few examples are shown below. None show Formula 1 cars or similar as those vehicles only have about 100 degrees of steering lock either way, and many single seaters don’t even have a steering wheel, more like handlebars. So rally cars and the like demonstrate the technique best.
If you want to read a war of words between an advocate of push pull and a fan of rotational, read this. The thing they’re both missing? The technique depends on the situation, every driver should have a selection of techniques ready to use!