The Right Way To Hold The Steering Wheel

If you are reading this, we assume you had a car or are about to have one. And in order to drive a car, you must take a driving lesson test. From the beginning day in driving school, we must all have heard a steering wheel lesson. To be more specific, we are all taught to always firmly grip the steering wheel in the 10-2 position. However, is it the only way to hold the wheel? Let’s find out!

How To Put Hands on Steering Wheel The Right Way

In the past, the 10-2 position was the correct and standard way to hold the steering wheel. However in the present, officers from the law enforcement are training to position hands much lower on the steering wheels. The same with the driver’s group while they are also training to change their hand’s position on the wheel. 

So what is the right way to hold the steering wheel? And are there any tips for holding it?

Sit Comfortable

Before driving, it is crucial to adjust everything in the driver position. You need to not only seat yourself comfortably inside but also need to adjust the seat, headrest, mirrors, as well as the car’s steering wheel. 

Usually, drivers can easily move the steering column up and down with the handle or lever in most car models. This car part can be found located underneath the steering wheel. In some new models, car owners can even pull the wheel toward or further away from the driver’s seat. Ideally, you want the arms to be as relaxed as possible when holding the steering wheel. Along with that, the steering wheel’s top must be lower than your shoulder. This is a hard position to be adjusted so just take a minute to make sure everything is correct and comfortable. After all, getting yourself in a comfortable position is the key to have a safe and enjoyable driving journey.

steering wheels
Knowing where to put hands on The steering wheel is tough (Photo Source: Pexels)

Do not forget that you must be able to observe both rearview and side mirrors. If there is something wrong, you should check by rotating from side to side with the purpose of checking all the blind spots. You want to have an unobstructed view. After all the adjustments, it is time to check your hand position on the wheel. 

10 and 2 or 9 and 3

Normally, car owners as well as driving schools follow the law enforcement when it comes to the hand position on the steering wheel. However, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there is no requirement in hand position when driving, so both of these positions are fine. This is why we will come to the “10 and 2” position first due to its popularity. 

10 and 2 Hand Position

We first discussed the traditional favorite position. If you are a driver, it is impossible to not have heard the term “10 and 2 driving”. The term describes the positions of your hands related to the numbers on a clock: 10 and 2.


In theory, we want to go for a higher grip in order to keep the car running as smooth as possible. In cases when we were cut off or there are any incidents happening on the road, we do not have the need of jerking the steering wheel. Yet, the existence of airbags changes the game. During a crash or collision, the airbag will deploy at the speed of 100 mph. This will protect both the chest and head of the drivers from slamming into the dashboard or the windshield of the car. And this is where the hand position becomes a terrible idea: At the position of 10-2 or even higher on the wheel, the driver’s arms can be thrown back or walloped into the face if the airbag explodes. 

9 and 3 Hand Position

On the other hand, the hand position of 9-3 is the new thing. The technique for proper hand position on the steering wheel has changed a lot over the years. Around 1 year ago, The American Automobile Association recommended drivers to use 9 and 3 hand positions. At the San Jose, California, Police Department, car owners also prefer the hand position of 9-3. And of course, the NHTSA also recommends this technique. This is due to the fact that the 10 and 2 position is dangerous in a car with smaller steering wheels and airbags equipped. Not to mention, this position is also more comfortable than the old technique since the arms are aligned with the shoulders very reasonably. Also, drivers can keep their hands in the proper location to both use the push and pull method of turning the wheel and use the car features.

steering wheels
Learning how to hold the steering wheel is the basic step to be an expert driver (Photo Source: Pexels)

In order to perform this, drivers imagine as if the wheel is a clock, then place the left hand on the left part of the steering wheel in the location of the number nine. The same goes with the right hand when you place it on the right portion of the steering wheel where the number three would be. 

Push and Pull Method

Last but certainly not least, we need to hold the steering wheel and perform the push and pull. When steering the car, it is essential to know that you must never take either of your hands off the wheel. While keeping both hands on, drivers can perform the push and pull technique of turning to safely rotate the wheel, therefore fully control the automobile. This method is so useful that we should perform it every time you turn. 

With the hand position of nine and three, you can perform this technique fairly easily. Car owners also need to drive by both of your hands in order to be safe on the road.