Over the holiday break I saw some sort of minor Twitter/X spat between automotive journalists — apparently one posted a picture of themselves driving and another took issue with hand placement — and I got to wondering: Where on the steering wheel do you put your hands?
I am not linking to the Twitter beef — it’s not necessary and I don’t want to risk ruining anyone’s mentions without a good reason. I will, however, answer the question — I am a 9 and 3 guy. As in, if the wheel was a clock, the left hand would be on the 9 and the right on the 3.
You might think that I would be a 10 and 2 guy, since that’s what I think my parents’ generation was taught, but I remember reading an interview with a famous racer — I think it was Mario Andretti — where the driver said 9 and 3 is the best position to avoid getting crossed up.
Now, even though I occasionally get to drive in a spirited manner for this job, sometimes on a track or at an autocross, I don’t find myself being worried about getting crossed up often in daily driving. That would be weird. But I find 9 and 3 comfortable — more so than 10 and 2.
Furthermore, my parents’ generation didn’t come of age with airbags. Baby boomers were in their 30s and 40s when airbags went mainstream. Taking the remote possibility of a collision triggering an airbag into the equation, I believe 9 and 3 puts you at less risk for arm injury in that situation.
That said, I do occasionally get lazy and one-arm it, or move my hands around a bit just to mix things up. Sometimes I shuffle steer. I try to minimize this — again, 9 and 3 seems best for car control and safety — but I am not perfect.
So, what do you do? 10 and 2? 9 and 3? One hand it? Gangster lean? Something else?
Sound off below.
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