Car Advice

Myth-Busting: Holding the steering wheel at 10-2 is the right way?

Older drivers might claim that holding the steering wheel at 10-2 is the right way to go. But, is it?

THIS IS A QUICK myth to bust. See, airbags have changed everything. Back before airbags, it was acceptable to hold onto the steering wheel at 10-2 with most locking their thumbs around the steering wheel.

Back before the 1990s, most driving instructors drilled their students to grip the wheel at 10-2, but the arrival of airbags has made this a dangerous hand position. See, when an airbag deploys, if you’re hands are towards the top of the wheel at 10-2 with your thumbs looped around the steering wheel rim, then the force could potentially force your hands into your face or break your thumbs.

It’s now recommended to hold the steering wheel at 9-3 with your thumbs placed upwards along the steering wheel rim rather than looped around it. This way a deploying airbag can inflate without making dangerous contact with your hands. An airbag deploys at around 320km/h and there’s just no way you can move your hands quick enough to beat that, so hold the steering wheel at 9-3 and avoid the risk.

Four-wheel drivers already know about this, but not because of airbag deployment reasons. Say you’re off-roading and hit a rock and the steering wheel yanks to one side. If your thumb is locked around the steering wheel rim the wrench could break your thumbs or dislocate them, so, as Yule Brynner said about smoking, ‘…just don’t…’

Beyond safety of your thumbs, holding the steering wheel at 9-3 with your thumbs laying up along the steering wheel gives you the best car control possible.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober