At least some of it. There is still a lot of sage advice out there, such as “always check your blind spot” or “give pedestrians the right-of-way.” However, I’m referring to another one of the basic safe driving tips we all learned.
The standard forever was that drivers should hold the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions. No more. Literally, times have changed.
The new guidelines — including those now issued by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and most transportation agencies — now say you should lightly grip the wheel at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions.
Technology Increases Safety, but Only if Modern Driver’s Ed Techniques are Applied
Cars have become safer these days. The most significant change are the airbags. They are designed to protect your head and chest.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “The higher up the wheel your hands are, the more likely they are to be directly over the plastic cover when it inflates at 150 to 250 mph.”
Among the injuries the NHTSA reports when an airbag deploys are “amputations of fingers or entire hands, traumatic fractures and a particularly gruesome injury called ‘de-gloving.’” Do yourself a favor; don’t look it up.
AAA says, “the bags can also slam your hands directly into your head, causing broken noses and concussions.”
Driver’s Ed Turning Hand-Over-Hand Can Increase Face and Neck Injuries
You also may be turning wrong, according to State Farm’s Auto Insurance Division.
“Hand-over-hand maneuvers during turning should be avoided to prevent arms from being in front of the airbag in a crash. Instead, you’re supposed to ‘push-pull’ — that is, push the wheel up with one hand and pull it down with the other, without crossing over.”
So what do you really know about safe driving? You might want to brush up on your knowledge by taking the quizzes at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety web site https://www.aaafoundation.org/quiz.
By the way, there is another hand position that has gained popularity in recent years. According to an officer with the San Jose Police Department, “Mostly, I see the left hand on the wheel and the other on a cell phone.”
And that’s another story.