It is one of the great anomalies of driving that while you may spend months following your instructor’s advice and adhering to theory, the majority of these carefully honed skills are lost after years on the road. Instead, as a motorist you begin to drive in a way that is comfortable and familiar, regardless of whether you’re particular style is recommended in hand books or online guides. There are times, however, when the experts themselves cannot agree on the best practice for drivers who are on the move.Driving Safely – Keep your Hands on the Wheel
Gripping the Steering Wheel: Understanding the Debate
In 2012, there was a great deal of discussion concerning how drivers should grip the steering wheel when operating their vehicle. For years, regulatory bodies have recommended that motorists place their hands in the 10 – 2 o’clock position, but recent developments in theory have suggested that this is no longer the optimum position. In new guidelines released by the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, drivers are encouraged to assume a more flexible grip and instead hold the wheel at 9 – 3.
The reason for this is the potential safety risks concerning the deployment of air bags, which are positioned inside the steering wheel and open at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour on impact. While their purpose is to protect your head, chest and neck from serious injury in the event of a collision, there is a suggestion that those who crash with their hands in the 10 -2 position risk serious injury to their arms and face as a consequence.
The Other Side of the Argument
Despite strong support from the AAA and a number of private driving instructors, however, other authorities remain less than convinced. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that there is little evidence to suggest that either the 10 -2 or the 9 – 3 positions is more suitable, while also asserting that a recommendation cannot be made based solely on the deployment of air bags. Their argument is that each model of car and its design is unique, which means that there is no single handling position to suit all circumstances.
With various educational and law enforcement bodies recommending hand positions ranging from 7 – 5 to the once standard 10 – 2, it is important that a consensus can be reached to determine the safest method of driving. Along with using a reputable insurance provider such as Axa Northern Ireland car insurance and respecting other motorists, understanding how to handle a vehicle safely is the most important thing for a driver to possess and crucial to their long term wellbeing while on the road.