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4 Things You Didn’t Learn In Drivers Ed

(Photo by Xurxo Lobato/Cover/Getty Images)
(Photo by Xurxo Lobato/Cover/Getty Images)

Did you know because of technology, driving with your hands at the accepted 10 and 2 positions could hurt you or kill you? With air bags being placed in certain areas of the car, when one goes off, it could cause you to break a hand or face.

Marc Demere of Popular Mechanics knew a cop who was once fiddling with the in-car computer with his right hand while driving the car with his left hand at 12 (the top of the steering wheel, for those of you young enough to be unfamiliar with analog clocks. We know you’re out there.) When the distracted police officer smashed into a stopped car, the force of the airbag deployment flung his hand back into his face, and he broke out his front teeth with his own hand.

That, my friends, is why you don’t drive with a hand at 12 o’clock. The 10 and 2 position, once the common wisdom of driver’s ed classes, is also dead (or at least it should be) thanks to airbags. The proper position is 9 and 3, while the Italian-esque 8 and 4 is more than acceptable. Don’t do those hand-over-hand turns anymore, either.

Most modern steering wheels have “thumb hangers” that naturally put your hands at 9 and 3 so you won’t smack yourself if an airbag deploys. Below 14 mph (the approximate speed for airbag deployment) I don’t care where put your hands. Nor will I get bent out of shape if you cross over 11 or 1 in an urgent situation. But my students need a good reason to cross 12 o’clock.

Read The Other 3 Reasons


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