Remember driver's education training, and how you were taught how to envision the steering wheel as a clock? Remember that the best place to put your hands on that clock was at the 10 and 2 position? According to new research, that's actually a bad idea.
Studies have shown that holding the wheel that way is a serious safety concern. If a steering wheel airbag were to deploy, it's much more likely that the driver's arm would be blown into their face, causing serious pain and potentially life-threatening injuries.
Back in the day, driver's were instructed to hold the wheel at 10 and 2 in case the car they were driving didn't have power steering. Since virtually all vehicles nowadays have power steering, the 10 and 2 hand placement doesn't really have relevance.
AAA suggests keeping your hands on the side of the wheel at 3 and 9 or the bottom of the wheel 8 and 4. It will not only reduce driving fatigue, it might just save you a trip to the hospital.
So now that you're holding the wheel correctly, here are some more safe driving tips courtesy of Insurance.com. They may seem like no-brainers, but everyone needs a refresher now and again.
- Watch the weather. Adjust your driving style to the weather outside. If it's raining, keep your windshield from fogging up by using the defroster. If it's snowing, brake gently and early, increase your following distance and turn cautiously. Perhaps most important, allow extra time for your trip in bad weather so you aren't rushing in bad road conditions.
- Keep your distance. Don't tailgate, no matter how annoyed you are with the slowpoke in front of you. You can avoid rear-ending someone by being aware that you're probably under-estimating how much distance you need to come to a stop.
- Don't drive drowsy. If you feel tired, pull over and take a break. Even a 15-20 minute nap at a rest area can do wonders.
- Put down the phone, and the chicken. Talking or texting on your cell is a major source of driver distraction. Use a bluetooth headset or connection or, better yet, just wait to chat until you arrive at your destination. It's not just phones that distract. Be reasonable about eating behind the wheel. Cup of coffee is okay. But we have seen news reports of people trying to eat a platter of barbecue or even a whole chicken while driving.
- Maintain your car. Routine maintenance can prevent a number of issues that can come up on the road. A big one is keeping your tires inflated. Not only will this keep your handling and braking in top shape, but it will also improve your fuel economy.
- Wear your seatbelt. Just do it. It's not that hard. Seriously.