NHTSA - 9-3 wheel hold safer than 10-2

Discussion on Advanced and Defensive Driving. IAM, RoSPA/RoADA, High Performance Course. All associated training. Car training.

Postby jont » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:31 am


"the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and many driving instructors now say you should grip the wheel at 9 and 3 o'clock."

http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2 ... -all-wrong

although it does endorse "push-pull" steering.

Admittedly a US article, but still seems applicable.
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Postby martine » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:23 am


I use both 10-2 and 9-3 depending on the road but I don't see how 10-2 can cause injuries from airbags.
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Postby ROG » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:20 am


American air bags are more powerful than EU ones because many americans do not use seat belts

If the arms are more across the bag at 10 to 2 when it goes off then the arms can be thrown into the face whereas at 9 - 3 they will be thrown to the sides of the face
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Postby bbllr87 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:20 pm


martine wrote:I use both 10-2 and 9-3 depending on the road but I don't see how 10-2 can cause injuries from airbags.

The article says it's not from the airbag itself, more from the very hot gases used to deploy it.
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Postby martine » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:16 pm


Not sure the article says that (unless I've missed something). The link to 'hot gasses' explains how an airbag deploys not as a cause of injury.

Doing some quick poking around the net, I saw this:

http://www.shortsupport.org/News/0178.html

...which says nothing about burns.

My understanding is the explosion to deploy an airbag is indeed very hot but very short and well away from hands/body/face. Anyone know?
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Postby martine » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:21 pm


Then again...more poking has turned up this!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11226663
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Postby apple tango » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:50 pm


I tend to use 9-3, mainly because in my car it means my thumbs are next to the horn controls - if I need to operate it then I can get it on that little bit quicker.

I would generally not worry too much about the airbag, most of the time it is going to prevent serious injuries than cause them.
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Postby bbllr87 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:37 pm


martine wrote:Not sure the article says that (unless I've missed something). The link to 'hot gasses' explains how an airbag deploys not as a cause of injury.

Doing some quick poking around the net, I saw this:

http://www.shortsupport.org/News/0178.html

...which says nothing about burns.

My understanding is the explosion to deploy an airbag is indeed very hot but very short and well away from hands/body/face. Anyone know?

No it's probably me reading it quickly!
Me I steer with my feet!
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Postby gannet » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:42 pm


bbllr87 wrote:Me I steer with my feet!


Comes from being a short arse :P :lol:
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Postby Astraist » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:33 pm


With the exception of drivers who have very shrug shoulders relative to the width of the steering wheel, I too recommend a quarter to-three grip which is more stable, puts a smaller strain on the shoulders and is safer upon airbag deployment. Ten to-two comes from times when the rims were much wider and holding the wheel across it's diameter would result in putting the hands aside and out of the line of the shoulders. Also, the anchiliary controls in such cars were often tilted upwards to support such a hand position.

I have seen and heared of injuries caused due to airbag inflation. A driver who had his hand thrown into his wife face, and another situation where a driver's hand was thrown onto his friend's face and dislocated his jaw! There are other examples but the notion is that holding the wheel high (not necessarily at ten to two) can be harmfull, where in quarter to-thre the arms will usually be pinned against the thighs.
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Postby Standard Dave » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:47 pm


I've seen and treated minor burns to the inner forearm from airbags. I've never seen an impact injury from another body part due to an airbag deployment.

I would say it is down to personal preference how you hold the wheel, the vast majority of drivers do not follow a safe system of work when steering a car so either of these is an improvement on the general population.
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Postby Horse » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:32 am


jont wrote: " Admittedly a US article


? :?: Not sure what that means?


However, there's an element of common sense needed. It's highly unlikely that an airbag will deploy (AAMOI, they 'deflagrate', not explode) with no warning, typically you'll have a second or so minimum warning that you're going to hit something head-on.

At that point, let go of the wheel!

More common sense: use steering appropriate to the situation! In a narrow country lane with severly restricted forward views and no passing space, don't use rotational steering - save it for when there's little chance of a head-on collision.

If anyone's really, truly, worried about injuries from airbags, by all means use that concern to influence your steering technique, but also think about not wearing either a wrist watch or glasses/sunnies - both of which are likely to get impacted into your face. But also drive in a way to avoid those instances where it's likely to be an issue.
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Postby brianhaddon » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:34 pm


Horse wrote:
jont wrote: " Admittedly a US article


? :?: Not sure what that means?


However, there's an element of common sense needed. It's highly unlikely that an airbag will deploy (AAMOI, they 'deflagrate', not explode) with no warning, typically you'll have a second or so minimum warning that you're going to hit something head-on.

At that point, let go of the wheel!

More common sense: use steering appropriate to the situation! In a narrow country lane with severly restricted forward views and no passing space, don't use rotational steering - save it for when there's little chance of a head-on collision.

If anyone's really, truly, worried about injuries from airbags, by all means use that concern to influence your steering technique, but also think about not wearing either a wrist watch or glasses/sunnies - both of which are likely to get impacted into your face. But also drive in a way to avoid those instances where it's likely to be an issue.

Best bit of common sense on this I have seen to date!
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Postby Standard Dave » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:02 pm


Also don't smoke a pipe while driving a car with airbags.
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Postby Horse » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:10 am


Standard Dave wrote:Also don't smoke a pipe while driving a car with airbags.


You'd - probably - still have that seond or so warning to spit it out :wink:

Mind you, when they say 'Smoking kills' I doubt they mean having a pipe mouthpiece embedded in the brain stem . . . :shock:
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