Why has hand position when driving changed?

In the past, all driving students in Maryland were taught that to have the best control over steering, they should keep their hands at the 10:00 and 2:00 positions on the wheel. This was the standard for many years. However, as technology in vehicles has advanced, this rule has changed. According to NBC News, the new driving standard for hand position is to have hands at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions or the 8:00 and 4:00 positions.

There are a couple reasons for this, but the first is that this keeps hands, fingers and arms out of the path of the airbag. Airbag injuries are very common to these body parts if they are in the way of the mechanism when it deploys due to the high speed and pressure that is involved. In addition, hands in these positions also allow for better control and it is more comfortable position than the old 10:00 and 2:00 position. Finally, it makes it easier to turn, avoiding the need to cross arms or even move hands from the wheel, which also adds to the control you have when steering.

“Old school” drivers may find it awkward to change to the new recommended hand positions, but it really is a good idea to do so if you are driving a vehicle with airbags. It only takes a short time to make the new position a habit. New drivers should be taught the new hand positioning from the start. This information is not intended as legal advice and is only educational in nature.