For Safer Driving, Forget What You Know

safe driving with airbagsOlder drivers were taught to drive safely before the use of airbags. But now that airbags are common and are installed in every new vehicle before it is sold, you may be driving wrong. That’s what safety experts are saying.

The new case study makes mention of two specific driving habits that are outdated: The placement of your hands on the steering wheel and the movement of your hands when turning your vehicle.

Drivers used to be taught that you should place your hands at the 2 o’clock and the 10 o’clock positions on the steering wheel. Now, safety experts are saying to place your hands at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions. Why the change?

The reason is because placing your hands higher on the steering wheel can put them in the way of your airbag. If your airbag deploys during an accident, then it could push your hands into your face and break your nose or injure you in some other way. So you should place your hands lower on the steering wheel to keep them out of the deploying airbag’s natural path.

For the same reason, safety experts are saying that the old turning method of using hand-over-hand maneuvering to turn your steering wheel is no longer valid. That method puts your hands in front of the airbag. Again, that’s a safety hazard.

Instead, drivers should push up with one hand and down with the other. That way, your hands stay clear of the airbag should it deploy and you are more likely to avert any serious injury to your face due to your airbag pushing your hands into it.