How to steer a car – Part 2
The steering systems in cars have moved on quickly, but has your steering technique kept pace? This is how you turn a steering wheel, the right way.
Steering a car: Techniques
- Shuffle steering (sometimes known as push-pull steering, or push-pull slide steering, or hand to hand steering, or fixed arm steering)
- Rotational steering (sometimes known as fixed-input steering or hand over hand steering)
When to use rotational or shuffle steering
Other safe steering tips:
- Set your seat so you can reach the top of the steering wheel easily, without having 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.
- Everything you see in The Fast and the Furious is wrong. And 95% of other movies or TV programmes too.
How NOT to steer a car
- 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 watch any onboard footage of professional racing drivers you’ll see they use rotational steering, and a few examples are shown below – none are 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.