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WootBot


quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

December is a month full of festive observances, but one of the most important often gets overlooked: National Impaired Driving Prevention Month! Between all the holiday merrymaking and the terrible road conditions, it's a pretty good time to think more carefully about our driving. But what if not everything you think you know about the rules of the road is accurate? We have Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings behind the wheel all month to set you straight. Buckle up, check your blind spot, and pull away from the curb when it's safe and legal to do so.

The Debunker: Should Your Hands Be at Ten and Two on the Steering Wheel?

For decades, driver's ed teachers recommended that students place their hands at the ten o'clock and two o'clock positions, which were assumed to be the gold standard for leverage, comfort and control. But that's not true anymore, due to new research in ergonomics, and new technology in steering wheels.

The Debunker

Placing the hands at nine and three—"parallel position," it's called—is now recommended by AAA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and other authorities. This is especially important for young drivers, who often get into accidents by oversteering. Parallel position lowers the body's center of gravity, and tends to allow smaller and more accurate steering corrections.

But airbags are an even bigger issue. Many of us learned how to handle a steering wheel in an age when there wasn't a super-heated gas ready to explode right into our head and hands in case of impact. The old ten-and-two position puts the hands closer together, and has led to many cases of fractures and amputations when airbags deploy. Parallel position keeps your hands farther from the point of airbag impact. Also, to better protect your thumbs in case of a collision, rest them on the wheel itself rather than hooking them around its interior edge.

Thanks to airbags, that crossover "hand-over-hand" way that old-timers were taught to make sharp turns is now out of date as well, say many insurers and driving instructors. Crossing your arms can knock your other hand off the wheel, or seriously injure you when airbags pop. The NHTSA hasn't completely turned on hand-over-hand steering, but the agency only recommends it "at low speeds with limited visibility" and notes that the airbag thing makes it a risk. "Push-pull" steering—pulling the wheel down with one hand, then pushing it up on the other side with the other—is generally safer.

Quick Quiz: What fictional doctor is friends with a two-headed gazelle called a "pushmi-pullyou," which uses one of its heads to eat and the other to talk?

Ken Jennings is the author of eleven books, most recently his Junior Genius Guides, Because I Said So!, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

Narfcake


quality posts: 397 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

Nine and three, right? Ten and three isn't exactly "parallel".

Granted, this doesn't apply quite as much for those who drive a manual.

One other aspect about hand-over-hand: manual steering from the days of yore. That took more muscle.

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RebelTaz


quality posts: 42 Private Messages RebelTaz

Personally, I prefer one at 12 o'clock and the other one resting on the seat beside me. I have been driving that way for 30 years with no problem at all. It is MUCH easier to control the vehicle than that stupid 10&2 crap.

x51x2x2
... ...

Calgaltoal


quality posts: 8 Private Messages Calgaltoal

Nine and three is more comfotable for me, maybe nine and two, depends on my mood or how tall I feel.

therealjrn


quality posts: 84 Private Messages therealjrn

Dr Doolittle, one of my favorite childhood movies!

And everybody needs one of these:

Narfcake


quality posts: 397 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

therealjrn wrote:Dr Doolittle, one of my favorite childhood movies!

And everybody needs one of these:


Brody knob! Also a relic of the past when power steering was a luxury feature.

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GAStrachan


quality posts: 0 Private Messages GAStrachan

Allow me to debunk the debunker...

The pushme-pullyou of Dr. Doolittle fame was a 2 headed llama, not a gazelle.

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138
Narfcake wrote:Nine and three, right? Ten and three isn't exactly "parallel".

Granted, this doesn't apply quite as much for those who drive a manual.

One other aspect about hand-over-hand: manual steering from the days of yore. That took more muscle.



8 and stick
or
6:30 and stick

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138
therealjrn wrote:Dr Doolittle, one of my favorite childhood movies!



Probably the first movie I remember seeing.

We had little rubber toys (erasers?) of some of the animals. I remember watching as the blue whale went down the toilet.

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138

I thought it was spelled pushmi-pullyu

therealjrn


quality posts: 84 Private Messages therealjrn

Boy, that Ken Jennings sure doesn't know much about Dr Doolittle.

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 100 Private Messages daveinwarshington
therealjrn wrote:Dr Doolittle, one of my favorite childhood movies!

And everybody needs one of these:

Nice. I have one on my mower.
That way I can drink a beer & still steer!!

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 100 Private Messages daveinwarshington
GAStrachan wrote:Allow me to debunk the debunker...

The pushme-pullyou of Dr. Doolittle fame was a 2 headed llama, not a gazelle.

I think you are right!
I haven't seen the movie in decades, but I do remember that llama.

dwadam1


quality posts: 0 Private Messages dwadam1

"Push-Pull" steering might be safer with regard to the airbag, but it seems like there would be way too much time wasted in re-adjusting the hands for it to be practical in an emergency situation.

gkassan


quality posts: 0 Private Messages gkassan

Another problem: it is not Driver's Ed. It is Driver Education or Driver Ed.

olcubmaster


quality posts: 33 Private Messages olcubmaster
GAStrachan wrote:Allow me to debunk the debunker...

The pushme-pullyou of Dr. Doolittle fame was a 2 headed llama, not a gazelle.



In the book the pushmi-pullyu was a gazelle-unicorn cross. In the Eddie Murphy movie it was a llama. The Rex Harrison musical movie portrayed it as "llama-like".

Sugar 'em up and send 'em home

BuffBillsFan


quality posts: 10 Private Messages BuffBillsFan

Watch those thumbs on the steering wheel...

Earlier this year a buddy got a very nice and very big Jeep. On the way back to work from lunch I was riding shotgun when we had a green light at an intersection. Sadly, a little old lady didn’t stop at her red light and drove right in front of us. Her tiny Civic had no chance, but due to protections built into that car the little old lady walked away fro the crash (we were pretty much fine, too...but both cars ended up being totaled). She did think she broke her thumb - her steering wheel must have jerked pretty drastically when the Jeep hit her front tire.

SylvreKat


quality posts: 44 Private Messages SylvreKat
therealjrn wrote:Dr Doolittle, one of my favorite childhood movies!

And everybody needs one of these:



Narfcake wrote:Brody knob! Also a relic of the past when power steering was a luxury feature.



My Dad had one back in the day. Except he told me it was called a date knob.

>'Kat

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