Steering showdown

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Where do you hold the steering wheel?

10&2
18
42%
9&3
14
33%
Bottom
9
21%
I'm Dom Toretto (top)
2
5%
 
Total votes: 43

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somitomi
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Steering showdown

Postby somitomi » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:43 pm UTC

If you have a license, you probably already met this question: where to grab the steering wheel? My instructor told me to use the 9&3 position, but I've heard some poeple saying 10&2 is the safer one. I've also seen people holding the wheel at the bottom, but never while driving through the hectic nightmare that is Budapest.
steering.jpg

I'm pretty much stuck with 9&3, but I'm curious about the opinion of other folks.
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timrem
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby timrem » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:01 pm UTC

I'd say that most of the time, I drive with just my left hand at 9. I go with 9&3 if there's enough other traffic around, though if I'm stuck sitting in heavy traffic I'll usually just drive with my left at 7.

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:17 pm UTC

I'm 10/2. But my car's steering wheel has little humps that make 10/2 the most comfortable position. They're kinda hard to see in the picture, but you definitely can feel them in the Ford Focus.

I've got a manual car. When I'm left-hand only (ex: right hand is on gear-stick), I'm basically left-hand at 10. In parking lots, I may have left-palm at 12-oclock to spin the wheel very quickly.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby HES » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:24 pm UTC

I was taught 10&2, both when learning to drive and in later training, which I think is the universal stance over here.

That said, I drift to the bottom in slow traffic.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby somitomi » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:46 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:I'm 10/2. But my car's steering wheel has little humps that make 10/2 the most comfortable position. They're kinda hard to see in the picture, but you definitely can feel them in the Ford Focus.

I know that, my dad's Fiesta has those too, but I'm never sure about the designer's intention with them. The depressions under them seem to fit my thumbs nicely in the 9&3 position. The best steering wheel I've tried so far is that of a 1988 Ford though, mostly because the spokes are not where I'm holding the wheel (it also has a nice feel to it for some reason).
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:48 pm UTC

For me, somewhere between 10&2 and 9&3, depending on whether I need better steering control (10&2) or long-term arm-resting comfort (9&3) at the time.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:55 pm UTC

I would use the steering wheel on the right side of the car, rather than that one. But, apart from that, I'm sure I'm far more 10&2 than anything else, when the 10 isn't instead off changing gear.

Also, when the use of the Indicators is intended, I tend to slide the 10-hand down a notch (9½?) to have my little finger stuck out and whichever side of the indicator stalk is necessary to push that stalk the way I want (at exactly the point in time I consider disambiguation of intention is useful without excessive 'camping on the blinkers'). That's independent of the wheel's turning, if it is a non-straight drive up unto that point (e.g, most pre-twisty junction lead-ups), as it seems to coordinate with the "feed the wheel round" that this hand finds itself going there as it ratchets round in alternation with the other hand and will hold that new position as the other hand takes over the grip-and-move. Or, if the wheel's going the wrong way, it'll slide there (even more against the wheel than with regular ratchet-returning) in the slide-phase.

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(Then mirror check, nudge the stalk accordingly (holding pre-latchpoint if its necessarily brief or would be precancelling, over the latchpoint otherwise), follow-through the maneuver according to traffic conditions and/or traffic control, forward-planning that the same finger (controlling the self-centering wheel slide with both hands half-gripping, more often than not) will release or (if necessary) be in position to cancel the signal if the auto-cancelling isn't kicking in. - Sorry, but bad Indicator usage is a bugbear of mine. Latent indication far from the useful points you ought to be indicating (Roundabouts! Suggesting that you're coming off when you're going round further, or going round further when you're actually now coming off!) or lack of any indication at all, of course. As a not unoccasional pedestrian (and seemingly invisible cyclist), as well, I particularly dislike the "there are no cars, so I won't indicate. Don't indicate without checking, but don't check and then decide not to indicate, either. You may have missed someone who would benefit from half a warning that you at least think you can do what you're about to do.)


You can probably read my advanced intentions from my left-hand positions, including my thoughts that I'll be shifting gear soon (within the next handful of seconds) by the hand (when not needed to flick that stalk, first) being absent from the wheel and on the gear-knob waiting for just the right time and revs to coordinate with the clutching foot. Certainly if you see my finger stuck out from the gripping/grippish rest of the hand, as it's just that little lower than normal, you know I'll be, MSMing shortly.


(I have also used the "ball of a single palm all the way round the wheel" method, when in complex 'both gearing and steering' combo-mode, round winding and undulating tracks. It's not 100% safe and secure, but it's practical at the speed I'm likely going, not actually racing round like a rally-driver, for which I would have to learn the actual professional techniques. A regulat passenger in my car would always tell me off for doing this, though, so it's not a habit I have ever gotten into for normal driving conditions.)

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Flumble » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:01 am UTC

On the rare occasion I'm driving, it's for more than an hour of continuous low-traffic highway, so I get bored and half the time I'm steering with a couple of fingertips clinging to the bottom. The rest of the time my hands are mostly at 10-2 for comfort and easy access to those sticks behind the wheel, or at 10-4 during long straights to fine-tune cruise-control (because no one drives at exactly the right speed).

Also I'm used to 4-spoke steering wheels, so you can rest those fingertips right at the bottom center.

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Zohar » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:54 pm UTC

Not having a car, I don't drive a lot these days. But I think usually I do 9&3, but that changes depending on other stuff. Sometimes just at the bottom, sometimes 10&2, sometimes just my left hand, etc.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby plytho » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:01 pm UTC

I do bottom on highways, 9/3 on smaller roads that require more steering.

I heard 10/2 used to be the standard position but now driving schools advise 9/3 because at 10/2 your hands block the airbag and increase injury risk.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:55 pm UTC

If by "block" you mean that 10-2 hands lead down to forearms pointing down to/past 8-4, that seems awkward. My forearms trail around the radius (and, though I've never driven a truck, my hands and thumbs obey the old "don't risk injuring your thumbs if the spokes of the steering wheel are jinked so that they spin into them" adage and lie upon the facing side-rim of the wheel, not on the inner part of the rim).

I've heard it said that an airbag deployment can notably mark the driver's arms, in the event of the police needing to disambiguate (probably cooperatively-)competing claims to responsibility of occupants, after an accident, but I'm of the impression that I'd have my upper-arms brushed by the bag, rather than my lower ones. (Wouldn't end up with the injuries that a noon-noon driver would, possibly self-inflicted punches to the face if their forearms aren't draped far more awkwardly around the radius. Makes me wonder if people link fingers and lose the fine-motor grip for the sake of a local minima in effort required to hold that position.)

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby EvanED » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:18 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:If by "block" you mean that 10-2 hands lead down to forearms pointing down to/past 8-4, that seems awkward.
By "block," plytho means that the airbag will break your arms when it deploys. (Or worse.)

(OK, "will" is being dramatic, but "can and is more likely to with 10 & 2 than 9 & 3" isn't.)

Edits because I can't type and stuff.
Last edited by EvanED on Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:22 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby somitomi » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:19 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:... or at 10-4 during long straights to fine-tune cruise-control (because no one drives at exactly the right speed).

Now there's a position you rarely see, good buddy.
Soupspoon wrote: Sorry, but bad Indicator usage is a bugbear of mine. Latent indication far from the useful points you ought to be indicating (Roundabouts! Suggesting that you're coming off when you're going round further, or going round further when you're actually now coming off!) or lack of any indication at all, of course. As a not unoccasional pedestrian (and seemingly invisible cyclist), as well, I particularly dislike the "there are no cars, so I won't indicate. Don't indicate without checking, but don't check and then decide not to indicate, either. You may have missed someone who would benefit from half a warning that you at least think you can do what you're about to do.)

It's a pet peeve of mine too. I once heard someone saying "the car you didn't see is the one that hits you if you don't indicate". Another thing getting on my nervers is the "alibi-indicating", i.e. indicating a lane change when the car is already halfway across the white lines.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:37 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:By "block," plytho means that the airbag will break your arms when it deploys. (Or worse.)

Yeah, I can see that happening, and covered the more severe facial injury possibilities mentioned1, but far more so with the arms "over the wheel" than my "around the rim". I was highly discouraged from ever going "hand-over-hand" (in pre-airbag days, even, just for reason of leverage and consistant control) so the chances of an arm significantly draped across the airbag cover exit-path seems low. (But not zero, and most likely during intensive wheel-turns when maybe more accidents could happen and even 9-3ers wouldn't be 'in position'.) Yet to be proven, though! *knocks on wood - gently - that I don't personally have to*


1 Not sure about hitting the rear-view mirror. That's an improbable target for an undirected hand, involuntarily flung off the wheel by whatever configuration of forearms blocking airbag deployment.

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby SDK » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:03 pm UTC

My left hand tends to be at 10 while maneuvering or 9 while cruising. My right hand, if it's touching the wheel at all, is usually near the bottom. 2 in case of emergency.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Zohar » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:53 pm UTC

Having spent a week in Israel and driving around a lot (as opposed to not driving here in the US), I can confirm that I'm pretty close to 9 & 3, with a slight inclination towards 10 and 2.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby wst » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:43 pm UTC

9-3 if I'm in a gokart or using rotational steering, and between 11-1 and 7-5 when using push-pull (so, actively cornering, usually at lower speeds - higher speeds would be dramatic if I used that much steering lock...)
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby measure » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:03 pm UTC

My Hyundai Sonata has 4 "spokes" on the wheel, so there's a single gap at the bottom, which is where I normally default to for cruising. Usually I switch between multiple positions to reduce fatigue. Two-handed 10-2 and 9-3 with a slight preference for 10-2. One-handed (highway cruising or straight stretches of clear road) I switch between bottom-center (mostly left hand in a left-side steering automatic transmission) and top (either hand, slightly past center so I'm pulling directly across the center point of the wheel for minimal effort). I never use the top position if there's a car in front of me or low visibility or anything else that increases the chance of an airbag deployment.

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:20 pm UTC


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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Bloopy » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:26 am UTC

At first I assumed I did something closer to 10&2, but in fact the top 2 spokes of my steering wheel where I put my hands are at 9&3. With the length of my arms and the way my steering wheel is adjusted, 10&2 is too much of a stretch and now I'm definitely happy to keep it that way. Even while going through a corner of a decent length I tend to shift my hands to 9&3 as it makes it comfortable to hold the wheel steady while turning.

I was aware of another safety tip about not hooking your thumbs around the steering wheel.

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby nichi » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:02 pm UTC

One hand on 6 by default. Move it up to 10 or 2 if I need to steer heavily in one direction, to 12 if I need to steer heavily in both directions.

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Xenomortis » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:00 pm UTC

Casual mode: right hand moves around a lot - often at the top or at around 4-5 o'clock (arm resting on inside door handle), left hand resting on the gear stick.
Sometimes the left takes part and I'll switch to the "bottom" configuration.
I was taught "10 & 2".

I don't know what my most common position is - guess I need a camera.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby wumpus » Sat May 13, 2017 5:25 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:If by "block" you mean that 10-2 hands lead down to forearms pointing down to/past 8-4, that seems awkward.
By "block," plytho means that the airbag will break your arms when it deploys. (Or worse.)

(OK, "will" is being dramatic, but "can and is more likely to with 10 & 2 than 9 & 3" isn't.)

Edits because I can't type and stuff.


That's odd. I learned well before airbags became standard and drifted into a 9/3 style (with thumbs wrapped around the 'spokes' for maximum control/ABS damage). I've assumed this has been a bad thing I started driving cars with air-bags.

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Re: Steering showdown

Postby Liri » Tue May 16, 2017 8:06 pm UTC

Xenomortis wrote:Casual mode: right hand moves around a lot - often at the top or at around 4-5 o'clock (arm resting on inside door handle), left hand resting on the gear stick.
Sometimes the left takes part and I'll switch to the "bottom" configuration.
I was taught "10 & 2".

I don't know what my most common position is - guess I need a camera.

Similar here. My hands are typically pretty asymmetricly distributed-y.

Most commonly something like 7&2, maybe. Or right hand over at 10:30, who knows.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby somitomi » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:51 pm UTC

I recently noticed, that my hands tend to drift towards the bottom of the wheel on dull stretches of road.
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Re: Steering showdown

Postby heuristically_alone » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:36 pm UTC

When I got my license 10-2 and bottom were the only correct ways and everything else was wrong. That was in 2008 I believe.
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