Which is the Safest Steering Wheel Grasp: 10/2? 9/3? or 8/4? – 21stCenturySafety.com
In the past, the standard instruction in driving schools was for drivers to hold the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions, as envisioned on a clock. This is no longer the case and could cost you your arms or hands in gruesome ways if your airbag deploys.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, AAA, and many driving instructors now say you should grip the wheel at 9 and 3 o'clock. Some studies even suggest an 8 and 4 grasp to avoid the airbag mechanism as much as possible. Formal research has been published on the varieties of hand positions suggests that 8 and 4 may lessen your control of the car.
Most vehicles on the road are equipped with airbags which has caused the change in hand position. The incorporation of airbag modules in the steering column is designed to deploy upward to protect your head and chest. The higher up the wheel your hands are positioned, the more likely they are to be directly over the plastic cover when it inflates at 150 to 250 mph.
Many of the injuries reported by the National Highway and Safety Administration caused by improper placement of the hands when an airbag deploys are amputations of fingers or entire hands and traumatic fractures. AAA says the bags can also slam your hands directly into your head, causing broken noses and concussions.
Experts also say new research in ergonomics suggests that what's called "parallel position" makes for safer driving in general. The Texas Department of Public Safety suggests that parallel position "improves stability by lowering the body's center of gravity and reduces unintended and excessive steering wheel movement which is a primary cause of young driver fatalities."
For additional information on the topic, you may be interested in the document developed by the Texas Dept. of Public Safety
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