Right Driver

Is it OK to cross your hands when turning the steering wheel?

The old way of holding the steering wheel was at 10-to-2 – a position which gave you the most leverage and control over a vehicle with no power steering.

Even light, sporty cars had heavy steering at slow speeds

Things are different nowadays with power steering making it much easier to control a vehicle.

There are two main hand positions for driving:

  1. When driving forwards, your hands should be at a quarter-to-three – many steering wheels will feel natural at this point because they are contoured to make it comfortable for you to put your hands there.
  2. When driving backwards, put your right hand on the top of the steering wheel and your left hand at 8 o’clock to make it easier for you to turn around and look out of the back window
Quarter-to-three gives the best control for vehicles with power steering

An alternative position for driving forwards, with hands at 8 and 4 o’clock, is often recommended for people who have shoulder injuries.

What should you do with your hands when turning?

If you are turning less than 45 degrees, keep both hands in the same position and simply rotate the wheel; you don’t need to change your hand position.

If you are making a sharper turn at more than 10mph, use the hand-to-hand method. For example, when turning right, as you pull the steering wheel down (clockwise) with your right hand slide your left hand down to meet it, grab it with your left hand and pull the steering wheel up (clockwise) as you slide your right hand to the top. Repeat if necessary and do the reverse to unwind the steering.

However, if you are making sharp turns at less than 10mph, it is acceptable to cross your hands. The reason is that you are able to stop more quickly and there is very little risk of the airbag going off and breaking your wrists.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

Posted in Advice
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