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Where should you put your hands on the steering wheel?

Aug. 3, 2009

If you answered this question "10 and 2", you clearly haven't taken driver's ed in a while.

Over the past several years, the advice about the best place to put your hands on the steering wheel has changed. Instead of gripping the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions, beginning drivers are now taught to place their hands at 9 and 3 or 8 and 4.

Why the change? According to Tony Phillips, owner of KC's Driving School in Hartland, one of the reasons we were all taught 10 and 2 in the first place was that back in the day, cars didn't have power steering. Gripping the top of the steering wheel provided more leverage to turn it; that grip is no longer necessary now that power steering is standard in most vehicles.

In addition, Phillips said, researchers have found that drivers who hold their hands at 10 and 2 suffer more shoulder injuries in car accidents. Because the top of a steering wheel is tilted toward the windshield, if you hold the wheel at 10 and 2, your arms are held fairly straight out in front of you and your elbows will typically lock in a bracing-for-impact situation. However, holding the wheel in a lower position means that your elbows are bent and therefore won't lock.

Holding the wheel in a lower position can also keep your hands and arms out of the way of the airbag if it is deployed in an accident.

What do you want to know? E-mail your questions to iwanttoknow@wi. rr.com.

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Weekend Happenings

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Dousman FD Pancake Breakfast: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.  Oct. 11, Dousman Fire Department, 107 S. Main, Dousman. Also includes Flight for Life at 9 a.m.; room fire demonstration (live fire) at 10 a.m.; car extrication demonstration at 11 a.m.  plus balloon creations (8-10 a.m.),  bounce house.  Waukesha County Communications (9-1-1), Waukesha County Sheriff K-9, Waukesha County Mobile Command Unit, ATF vehicle.

Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser: 7 a.m. -12 p.m. Oct. 10, Oconomowoc Volunteer Fire Department, 212 Concord Road, Oconomowoc. Free will donations appreciated. Also includes fire trucks and displays, raffles, kids activities. Proceeds go toward the purchase of new emergency equipment.

Move Your Mutt for HAWS: 7 a.m. Oct. 10, Genesee Lake Road Town Park, Genesee Lake Road, Oconomowoc. Choose the 5K and bring your pet or run the 10K without your dog. There is also a one-mile walk. Raise $100 in pledges and race for free. Food and beverages available as well as vendor booths and adoptable pets from HAWS. $25 one-mile walk, $45 for 5K, 10K.


Tyke Hike: 10 a.m. Oct. 10, Lapham Peak State Park, W 329 N 846, Delafield. Please meet at the observation tower. Look for yellow ’Ice Age Trail Event’ signs. Tyke hikes are 60- to 90-minute slow-paced hikes promoting nature and family hiking in an outdoor educational setting. 


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