Have you ever wondered why, during a driving test, the examiner evaluates the way you position your hands on the steering wheel?
Well, it’s not only to help you get a driver’s license, but it also helps to prevent accidents and enables you to use your car more efficiently.
According to statistics, wrong steering wheel techniques are the major cause of crashes, as they force drivers to run off the road.
Even an experienced driver should be more cautious of their hand placement, body position, and posture when driving.
Were you previously taught to use the 10 and 2 position? Well, that no longer works because it’s dangerous. The NHTSA now recommends the use of other steering techniques.
The 3 Most Recommended Steering Techniques to for Safe Driving
Here are the top 3 most recommended steering techniques that can help prevent car crashes;
#1. One-Hand Steering Technique
One-hand steering technique is used when backing or operating vehicle controls such as lights, flashers, and wipers, which need you to reach out from the steering wheel. Placing one hand on the steering wheel can help you maintain vehicle balance and prevent steering reversals and potential injury due to a crash.
When reaching an operating control, you should keep your other hand in the original operating position as you operate with the other. In this way, you’ll keep the vehicle stable and exert more steering effort.
This also applies when you’re backing up the vehicle to the right or left, or when you need to turn in the seat to see the road to the rear. The way you turn the wheel when backing directs the vehicle to the rear.
#2. Hand-to-and Steering Technique
Hand to hand steering technique, which is also known as push/pull steering involves placing both your hands on the steering wheel. Your left hand will be grasping the wheel between 7 and 8 o’clock while the right hand between 4 and 5 o’clock.
Whichever direction you’ll be turning, you should make sure your left or right-hand pushes the wheel up while the opposite hand slides up and grasps the wheel, pulling it down to turn.
Doing this will make the necessary adjustments to ensure the car is well controlled. Because your hands will never cross over the steering wheel, the chances of injuring the arms, face, arms, or hands in a frontal crash are very minimal. This steering technique is the most preferred.
#3. Hand-over-Hand Steering Technique
Hand over hand technique is used in complex situations such as when parking the car, driving at low speeds with limited visibility, or when you’re recovering from a skid. According to the NHTSA, your left hand should grasp the steering wheel between 8 and 9 o’clock while the right hand should be between 3 and 4 o’clock.
Your left or right hand should grasp the wheel and push up while the opposite hand lets go, reaching across the other arm to grab the wheel and pull it up, over and down appropriately.
When the wheel is being pulled up, the hand used to initiate the pushing motion should release the wheel and return to its original position. You can reverse this process to get the vehicle back on a straight path.
Factors and Vehicle Components Which Affect Vehicle Steering
Here are some of the vehicle components and factors affecting car steering:
The Type of Pressure in the Wheels
The wheels should have enough pressure according to specifications. Any uneven or minimum air pressure will cause hard steering, and an excess of the pressure will result in the vehicle wobbling on the road and causing a crash.
Back Lash and Steering Gear Ratio
The steering gear offers mechanical advantage so that you can guide the vehicle by exerting less physical effort behind the wheel.
The relative position of the wheels will ensure the vehicle gets true and free-rolling movement over the road. When the vehicle’s wheel alignment is excellent, the steering wheel will operate smoothly.
The Play in Wheel Bearings
If the wheel bearing is not properly adjusted, there’ll be less play, which may cause hard steering. More play in the bearings will affect the wheel alignment leading to wheel wander.
The Condition of Shock absorbers
Shock absorbers are always soaked in oil to hydraulically dampen the suspension and prevent wheel bouncing. This maintains tire-to-road contact over the undulations and bumps and helps you to maintain vehicle control.
The Steering Linkage Connection
The steering linkage connection has to provide free movement of the linkage in order to transmit your steering wheel effort to the knuckles. More play in the joints will not help your efforts, and less play will cause hard steering.
Steering safety as taught by your best driving instructor is vital for every driver. For you to steer a vehicle safely, you should have complete control of your car. You never know when an emergency will occur, so you’ll need to be well prepared at all times.
When driving, make sure you sit in the correct position, keep your hands on the steering wheel, and set your eyes on the road while following the recommended steering techniques.
At Pierre Paul Driving School, we’ll teach you all the techniques you need to be a safe driver. Call us now at 718-576-6277 to enroll in our comprehensive driving lessons.