The hand position that’s ideal for driving depends mainly on your preferred steering technique. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies three main methods or techniques commonly used to steer a vehicle. To give you a better idea of what’s best for your hand position when you’re behind the wheel, the auto insurance experts from Altra Insurance Services offer this rundown of the recommendations that apply to each steering technique.
Also referred to as hand-to-hand steering, this is when you use your preferred lead hand to push your car’s steering wheel up. The other hand is used to pull the wheel down when you need to turn. With this steering technique, NHTSA recommends keeping the right hand between the 1 and 8 o’clock positions and the left one between 11 and 8 o’clock. This applies regardless of which direction you may need to turn the wheel while driving.
• Reduces hand/wrist strain
• Minimizes repetitive strain injuries
• Protects your hands if your airbags deploy
With this steering position, you’re alternating your hands and primarily focusing on the top third part of the wheel. You’re shifting hands continuously as you drive with this position by pushing the wheel up with one hand as the other one lets go of it. The released hand is then moved in the opposite direction so the wheel can be pulled up and the process can be repeated. With your left hand, stay within the 8 and 9 o’clock positions. Your right hand should remain between 3 and 4 o’clock for hand-over-hand steering.
• Good for lower-speed driving
• Helps for driving when there’s limited visibility, especially at intersections
• Minimizes potential risks if you get stuck in a skid
Two-handed steering is typically recommended when possible. It’s also considered safer, since it allows for better vehicle control. However, there may be times when you need to effectively steer with one hand. The recommended hand position for this steering technique is between 8 and 9 o’clock or between 3 and 4 o’clock.
• Allows for manual transmission use
• Gives you the ability to have a free hand when necessary
• Prevents hand injuries from airbag deployment
Regardless of the steering technique or hand position you prefer, you’ll be a safer driver if you keep your driving posture in mind, too. If your posture is off, you’ll also be increasing your risk of placing strain on other parts of your body as you drive. Another potential issue with poor driving posture is having difficulty comfortably placing your hands in the correct position for your preferred steering technique. Correct driving posture involves:
• Adjusting your mirrors so you’re not straining your head/neck or leaning
• Properly adjusting your seat so you can comfortably reach and control the steering wheel
• Correctly positioning the seat belt so any forceful or sudden movements don’t cause unintentional injuries
Proper steering techniques can help you stay safer on the road. Other drivers may not be as safety-conscious, so it’s also important to make sure you’re covered by auto insurance. You can trust Altra Insurance with all of your insurance needs, including motorcycle, homeowners, and Auto & car insurance Chula Vista. Their drivers should call our friendly staff today at (619) 404-6311 to ask about our services or schedule an appointment.