Hand position on the steering wheel – action radius, airbag and thumb

There are few examples for the hand position on the steering wheel. If you look at the road traffic instead of the textbook, you can see a panopticon of the most varied steering wheel positions.

Both hands on 12 o’clock, the one-handed drivers or the drivers who steer their car with their knees. It still goes crazier.

the more relaxed the ride, the more casual the steering wheel position becomes.

The more dicey driving conditions become, the more the hands move into an "exemplary" position. Then there is no cell phone on your ear.

In the event of a sudden danger, however, there may not be enough time to quickly assume the necessary hand position on the steering wheel.

The recommended stance in germany is: the hands at 9 and 3 o’clock, known as the "quarter to three stance".

So the hands hold the steering wheel left and right in the middle. This is how it is taught in driving school.

This creates the highest radius of action for steering, an immediate half turn of the steering wheel and beyond in any direction without having to move the hands for this. In case of danger you can react in a flash. almost every curve can be mastered without having to reach around or dislocate the arms.

In this position, the switches or paddles for turn signals and wipers can also be easily reached without having to take your hands off the steering wheel.

Twenty to four: hands go down

A discussion has arisen that the twenty-before-four position would be better than the quarter-before-three position. This opinion comes from the united states.

Three reasons are given for this:

– it is more comfortable and is therefore already unconsciously used by many riders.

– power is no longer needed for steering, because of today’s power steering systems.

– the airbags are designed for this position. According to international crash test standards, the dummy holds the steering wheel in the twenty-before-four position.

These arguments are not accepted by experts in germany. The advantages of the quarter-forward-three position would still outweigh the disadvantages.

But there are still some things to consider.

The distance regulates the hand position on the steering wheel

A good hand position on the steering wheel is only possible if the optimal distance to the steering wheel is set.

There is a rule of thumb for this.

With arms outstretched and shoulder blades against the backrest, the wrists should rest on top of the steering wheel.

So it’s not too close that the airbag could become dangerous. It is also not too far that the steering wheel rotation would no longer be fully mastered.

The airbag can become a danger

The airbag has done a lot for safety in the car. but it can also become a danger that you only become painfully aware of in an emergency.

When the airbag is deployed, it throws everything on top of the airbag against the driver.

There is usually nothing there. Unless the driver has his hands casually resting on twelve o’clock or even crossed on the steering wheel.

When the airbag is deployed, the driver gets his own hand in the face. Not in the form of a light slap but with the energy of a klitschko fist.

The thumb is threatened

the thumb should always be on the steering wheel.

If the thumb is hooked in the steering wheel or in the steering wheel spokes, then the ability to steer is initially impeded.

In the event of an accident, the thumb can then be broken or torn out of its socket, by the rotation of the steering wheel or by the deployed airbag.

There is simply more to the hand position on the steering wheel than meets the eye.

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Andre Zanker
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