Sit back and relax

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  1. Astraist says:

    Sitting as far as possible from the airbag is an exaggeration. The airbag is a friend, not a foe. As long as your sternum is over ten inches or 25 centimeters away from the center of the steering wheel hub, and you are properly restrained, than there shouldn’t be a problem.

    I do agree that the driver in the photo is sitting too close and that the criteria for a proper posture are generally correct. Of course there are other factors to be considered when adjusting a driving position, including seat height, steering wheel adjustment, etc…

    Which reminds me: How do you define “moving the shoulders away from the back of the seat”? Does it mean pulling just the shoulder joint forward, or perhaps the entire shoulder blade?

    • safedriver says:

      Auto makers also request the driver and passengers sit as far as possible from the airbag. For the driver, as mentioned in the post, as far back as possible with the arms still bent. The force of the airbag is most severe right from deployment. You are correct; the airbag is a friend but we must be in a good position for it to remain a friend. If you’re too far from the steering wheel that “forces” you to have to move your upper body away from the seat to steer effectively, most drivers won’t do that. It also could take too long to respond with enough steering if you have to move too much of your upper body to steer enough to avoid the problem. If you have to move your entire shoulder blade from the back of the seat in order to steer effectively, you’re too far away from the wheel.

  2. eiewa says:

    Reblogged this on Enough is Enough WA Inc. and commented:
    A friend and common road safety advocate, we came across ‘The Safe Driver’ through Twitter – some great road safety tips.

  3. Mike Matheson says:

    You might want to do a blog about proper hand position, if it has not been done. Quite a while ago (I may have told you this story), I read that the 10-2 position became obsolete when airbags became standard equipment. The writer claimed that this position would cause you to punch yourself in the face in the event that the airbags deployed. I actually went out and sat in my car, holding the wheel at 9-3 and at 10-2 to see if what they said was true. It was so far from the truth that I felt like a sucker for even considering that the theory might have some validity.

    While browsing in Indigo last week, a new book called “How To Drive” caught my eye. As expected, they also advocated the “quarter to three” hand position (the same thing I learned at BMW Advanced Driving School.) In the book, as with the driving course I took, they make a good case for the technique providing superior handling when swerving is necessary.

    However, if any more steering input is needed, the bottom hand lets go at the 6 o’clock position, and the idea is then to cross that arm in front of your face to grab for the 3 o’clock (if you’re going left.) So, while it is true that you could use two pulls of the wheel to avoid something as opposed to three, there is too much time lost bringing that hand across, not to mention the distraction of criss-crossing your arms.

    They say that this is the way race car drivers steer. That may be true, but we are not driving race cars (and it should be noted that many NASCAR drivers use the 10-2 position!) F-1 cars don’t even have a full wheel, and the gearing allows for more movement with less input than a passenger car … even if it is a swanky BMW!

    Another issue is that the 9-3 position does not lend itself well to city driving, since an average left or right 90° turn within the city would leave you with one hand off the wheel as you round the corner. 10-2 provides more hand contact when cornering in the city. If I check myself while driving on the highway, I find that I am closer to 9-3, while in the city I am unconsciously closer to 10-2.

    To conclude this essay, I will say that both the 9-3 or 10-2 are acceptable, and FAR superior to the wrist at 12 o’clock, or the finger at the bottom of the wheel. The only thing that drives me battier than seeing those positions is when someone grabs the inside of the wheel (palm facing themselves) to make a turn. UGH!

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