Right Driver

What hand position should you use when driving?


We used to refer to the position as the 10-to-2 position, but it’s really more towards a quarter-to-three. This is the hand position you should use when driving forwards. The heels of your hand should be opposite one another on the steering wheel and your hands as shown above. Some steering wheels have little bumps where you can rest your thumbs.

If your arms get tired you could drop them to the 4:40 position (twenty-to-five), but this doesn’t give as much control. The 3:45 or quarter-to-three position is the least stressful position on your arms while giving you excellent control over the wheel.

When driving backwards in a straight line, turn your head over your left shoulder, put your right hand on the top of the wheel and your left hand at 8 o’clock. This gives you better fine adjustment when reversing and makes it easier for you to turn around and see what’s behind you. If you reverse using your mirrors, maintain the 3:45 position.


If you are only turning slightly, i.e. you’ll turn the wheel 45 degrees (1/8 turn) or less, then keep both hands on the wheel and rotate it. For any other manoeuvring above 10mph, use the hand-to-hand method: to turn right, pull down on the steering wheel with your right hand as you slide your left hand down to meet it. Grip the steering wheel with your left hand and move it to the top, meanwhile sliding your right hand to the top to meet it. Repeat as necessary and do the opposite to either unwind the steering wheel or to turn left.

When manoeuvring at very low speeds, it’s easier to cross your hands for speed. However, don’t do this when travelling more than 10mph because of the risk the airbag will go off if you crash into something. If your hands are crossed over the steering wheel when the airbag goes off, it will blast your arms into your face, most likely breaking something in your arm and something on your face.

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

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