The AAA motor club recently released news informing drivers to stop holding the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 position for three reasons:
- It causes fatigue.
- It isn’t relevant anymore because virtually all vehicles now have power steering (the 10 and 2 position was designed in large part to help people control their vehicles if they didn’t have power steering).
- When an airbag deploys from the steering wheel, the old 10 and 2 position can cause your arms to be blown into your face, possibly causing serious injury.
I actually find this commonsensical and to be honest, I have never driven in that classic position I learned through basic car driving lessons. I have a unique way of putting my hand position on the steering wheel on top which is apparently just as dangerous or even worse. I guess I better rethink about how I hold that steering wheel!
AAA has advised drivers to use a 3 and 9 position which slides your hands right to the middle of the opposite sides of the wheel, or even a little lower at 4 and 9. This appears to be a smart move as it’s easy to see how an airbag would deploy into your face and chest while your arms cradle it on the outside.
There are many other safety tips you can use while driving and here are the most important ones as a reminder:
1. Do not tailgate. Why is it that people get behind another vehicle about one car’s length away while they are driving 55 mph? You’re asking for trouble and if the person in front of you slams on the brakes to avoid road debris or an animal, you stand a good chance of being toast!
2. Take sleepiness seriously and pull over. I remember once on a long trip, I was so sleepy I stopped the car and forced myself to do two 50 yard wind sprints before getting back into my old Chevy Camaro. I was ok for about 5 minutes but moments later, I was worse off than before! Luckily, I pulled over about 10 miles down the road into a 7 Eleven parking space, turned the car off, rolled my seat back, and passed out. Two hours later, I came to! I wiped the drool off my cheek and made it home easily, three hours later. People crash and die all the time due to falling asleep at the wheel!
3. Slow down when it’s raining and increase your distance from other cars and brake gently when it is snowing. Do you really think it’s safe to travel 70 mph when it’s pouring rain? Apparently, many drivers do! These knuckleheads arenputting everyone else at risk, so don’t be one of them. I’m certain you have noticed how many more vehicles get involved in traffic crashes when the skies open up.
4. Don’t text and drive. Plain and simple.
5. Wear your seat belt. For goodness’ sake, while you’re at it, teach your kids to wear them, too. You wouldn’t believe how many parents let their kids get into a car without placing seat belts on them. About 5 years ago while at a family barbecue, my brother-in-law gave me the keys to his van and asked me to fetch a few bags of ice for him as a favor. I gladly took his 12 year old daughter with me and mistakenly assumed she had placed her safety belt on because I was used to my kids always doing it out of the habit I taught them.
On the way there, a German shepherd ran out in front of us and I slammed on the brakes and narrowly missed the dog. My niece flew to the front and it is a miracle she didn’t slam her head into the windshield! I then asked her why she wasn’t wearing her seat belt. She replied, “I hardly ever do.” Needless to say I quietly brought it to my brother-in-law’s attention and he admitted his kids were not in the habit of wearing seat belts. Unbelievable. Apparently it hasn’t crossed his mind how people fly out of windows during car crashes when they aren’t strapped in!