What is the best place to put your hands on a steering wheel?

  • #1
Does a certain position let you exert more torque on the steering wheel?

I've heard 10 and 2 o'clock. I've also heard 9 and 3 o'clock.

Is it possible to explain with physics why two hands placed right next to each other would not be as effective as two hands spaced further apart? I can't think of a a reason why it would matter.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
It's biomechanics. If you really want to go into this, you'll need to study the anatomy of upper body muscles and bones, and apply torque mechanics, this will not be an easy model to set up. But basically, everyone has more force pushing down than sideways. It could also depend on how much correction you intend to apply, and there may also be a compromise between speed and finesse.

But in practice, I'm sure the 10-2, and 9-3 figures, are determined by experienced drivers. Just watch how a race driver holds his wheel. There is no doubt that when one makes a living on the edge of losing driving control, he'll tend to naturally find the optimal control position.
 
  • #3
berkeman
Mentor
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Does a certain position let you exert more torque on the steering wheel?

I've heard 10 and 2 o'clock. I've also heard 9 and 3 o'clock.

Is it possible to explain with physics why two hands placed right next to each other would not be as effective as two hands spaced further apart? I can't think of a a reason why it would matter.

My daughter took a driving clinic (from BMW Car Club of America, but they let you bring other makes of cars to the teen driving clinics). They explained the 10-2 position is best because it lets you keep both hands on the wheel for the largest range of motion, and keeping both hands on the steering wheel at all times is a goal for best control. You don't need leverage so much as constant control. All cars have power assisted steering these days anyway.

They also adjusted the driver's seat so that the driver's chest is 12-14" away from the steering wheel. The closer the better for control, but you need at least that 12" to avoid extra airbag injuries in a crash.
 
  • #4
rcgldr
Homework Helper
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Having the hands apart allows a driver to apply opposing torques on the steering wheel and better arm support for more precise control, especially in a race car situation with high g acceleration in turns. Formula 1 race cars only have 9 and 3 handles instead of a conventional steering wheel for that reason.

For a street car, some schools teach 10 and 2, others 9 and 3, or as close to 9 and 3 as possible depending on the particular car's steering wheel. When turning the wheel a lot, some drivers cross the hands, but most schools now teach drivers to slide the steering wheel through one hand at a time, sort of a shuffle movement.
 
  • #5
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Torgue? Your're dealing with a wheel.
Thus, the most effective torgue is when both hands are on the same spot(overlap), or just next to each other.
 

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