How to Hold a Steering Wheel
Properly holding the steering wheel of your vehicle is an important safety precaution to observe every time you get behind the wheel. When you complete your driving exam, the administrator will watch your body position while you are behind the wheel of the test vehicle. One aspect that the instructor will be looking for is proper placement of your hands on the steering wheel. Many drivers often wonder why the way that they hold or use the steering wheel of a vehicle is evaluated during the examination required to obtain a driver’s license. Drivers who use the correct technique to hold the steering wheel of their vehicle are less likely to have an accident and will be able to use their vehicle more efficiently. Even experienced drivers should be conscious of their posture, body position, and hand placement while driving.
How To Proceed
After you seat yourself comfortably in your vehicle and adjust the headrest, seat, and mirrors to suit your height, you should also adjust the vehicle’s steering wheel. Most models allow drivers to move the steering column up or down by using a lever or handle located underneath the steering wheel. Some models also allow drivers to pull the wheel towards them or push it closer to the dashboard. Take a few moments to ensure that all of the vehicle’s available adjustments are customized so that you are in a comfortable position. You should be able to clearly see both side mirrors and the rearview mirror, rotate from side to side to check your blind spots, and have an unobstructed view through the windshield.
The technique for proper placement of your hands on the steering wheel of your vehicle is often described in terms of how the placement of your hands relates to numbers on a clock. This technique is known as ten and two. Place your left hand on the top left portion of the steering wheel in a location approximate to where the ten would be if the wheel was a clock. Your right hand should be placed on the upper right portion of the wheel where the two would be located. Many people feel that their arms are comfortably aligned with their shoulders in the ten and two position. This technique keeps your hands in the proper position to use the push and pull method of turning the steering wheel.
As you steer your vehicle, you should never take either of your hands off of the steering wheel. The push and pull method of turning the steering wheel allows you to safely rotate the steering wheel while keeping both hands in contact. For example, if you are turning to the right, you will push the steering wheel in a clockwise motion with your left hand while simultaneously pulling the wheel in a clockwise motion with your right hand. Some drivers simply push the wheel with the hand opposite of the direction in which they are turning while allowing the other side of the wheel to slide through the loose grasp of the other hand. It is not acceptable to turn your steering wheel with only the palm of one hand or with your thumbs. The push and pull method should be used for every turn, every time you drive.
Proper placement of your hands on the steering wheel is essential to driving your vehicle safely. Remember to place your hands in the ten and two position at all times while driving. Never drive with only one hand, your fingertips, or, even worse, with your knees. While turning to the left or right, use the push and pull technique to ensure that the steering wheel does not slip out of your hands. Not only will proper placement of your hands on your vehicle’s steering wheel help you pass your driving exam, it will also contribute to your overall safety while on the road.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Driving-Tests.org. He has been writing for beginner US drivers for several years.
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