The Reason for 9 and 3
Since you were 16 years old preparing yourself to get your license, driving schools and safety organizations have always taught 10 and 2 is the safest way to hold the steering wheel. With airbag technology coming into play, the safe standard is now being heavily debated, by law enforcement officers, car safety instructors, and emergency responders.
Currently an airbag can deploy at speeds up to 100 miles an hour, the force of the air bag deployment could cause enough force to cause injury, by bruising your arms, or possibly launching your arms into your face. No one wants to be injured by the equipment that’s saving your life.
Many organizations are either recommending or teaching their fleet operators to drive with the hands firmly planted at nine and three (9 & 3), with the thumbs to the outside of the steering wheel. Some police forces are even going as low as eight and four (8 & 4).
According to Transport Canada’s Air Bag Deactivation Document, The vast majority of people can avoid being too close to an air bag and can minimize the risk of serious air bag injury by making simple changes in behavior. If you are short in height you can adjust your chair and driving position. Front-seat adult passengers should sit a safe distance back from the dash of the car. You should sit at least 25 centimeters from the center of the steering wheel to the sternum. However, there is no mention of how air-bag deployment affects hand, arm, and face injuries. It’s just up to your judgement to determine what works best for you. A driver needs to decide the safest hand position based on the type of car, style of steering wheel, size of the person driving, and level of driving experience. We feel that it would be safer for a driver to choose a safe position that will allow optimum steering control to avoid a collision, than worry about injuries being caused by an air bag.
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Written by: Nicole Weisbrich