The recommended spot for where to put your hands on the steering wheel was at 10 and 2 (above the steering wheel center line but not quite at the top of the wheel). However, as car technology, car safety testing, and safety equipment have improved, thoughts about these hand positions have evolved and changed to 9 and 3.
What is the ideal steering wheel hand placement?
Experts at the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now recommend 9 and 3 — on opposite sides of the wheel halfway up — as the ideal steering wheel hand placement. The 9 and 3 steering wheel hand position maintains good control over the wheel while reducing the risk of injury from the airbag.
The preferred hand position on the steering wheel while turning has also changed. Many drivers naturally cross their arms over each other as they turn the wheel. However, the NHTSA suggests drivers learn the push/pull method instead. In this method, the driver pushes up on one side of the wheel until the pushing hand arrives just before the 12 o’clock position. The other hand moves opposite the pushing hand and pulls downward to continue the turning motion. Moving the hands in this way allows the driver to turn without taking either hand off the steering wheel.
If you’re learning to practice driving, pay attention to your steering wheel hand position. Even experienced drivers can benefit from learning the recommended position. However, it might take some time to undo certain bad driving habits.
Should you drive with one hand on the steering wheel?
All drivers — from teen drivers learning the common traffic laws and rules of the road to experienced drivers with decades behind the wheel — should keep both hands on the wheel most of the time. You can briefly remove one hand to activate the turn signal or shift gears, but you should immediately put it back at the 9 and 3 steering wheel hand position. Driving with two hands on the steering wheel is a good driving habit to follow and essential for driving safety. If you are new to driving and taking your driver’s test, be aware that keeping both hands on the wheel is something that a driving test examiner will look for. Be sure to practice this before your exam to ensure you pass your driver’s test.
If you are new to driving and taking your driver’s test, be aware that keeping both hands on the wheel is something that a driving test examiner will be observing. Practice this before your exam to ensure you pass your driver’s test.