Steering wheel is the most important control element of your car. Therefore it’s absolutely crucial to hold it properly in order to drive well.
Drive Like a Pro is a series that will show you how to use the skills and knowledge acquired by our rally drivers to drive more safely and effectively on the road.
There are lot of ways to hold a steering wheel. Some of them, like the hand placed on top of the wheel, will give you that cool, relaxed look of bad guy from movies. A hand in your lap, with just a few fingers gripping the bottom of the wheel, may be comfortable for long, boring highway drives.
None of those ways, though, will give you real control over the car. And nor do most other ways people tend to hold the wheel. If you want to be able to react quickly and efficiently to any situation, you need a proper grip. And we will show you how to do it.
9 to 3 Is the Way to Go
For decades, the drivers were taught to drive with their hands at 10 and 2 position. It made sense with the large steering wheels of cars without power steering, but not any more. In a modern car, the better way is to hold the wheel at its sides – or 9 and 3 position – instead.
With hands like this, you have the best idea of how the position of your front wheels. You always know exactly how much steering lock and in which direction you have applied. This is especially helpful not only in extreme situations, like recovering from a skid, but also in tight turns, where it helps you not to lose track of your wheels’ position.
Keep Your Hands Where They Are
At the same time, holding the wheel at 9 and 3 will give you the best range of steering wheel movement without letting go of its grip. For aforementioned reasons – keeping track of your wheels position – you should ideally be able to drive with your hands on the wheel at all time.
With 9 and 3 hold and proper position behind the wheel, you should be able to turn the wheel almost half a turn without ever letting go of it or shuffling the hands around. In a typical car, this is enough to tackle anything but the tightest turns or, of course, city corners and parking lots.
Now that you know how to hold the wheel properly, we can get moving. In the next instalment, we will show you where to look while driving.