Friday, July 29, 2011

Driving Culture: Steering Wheel Hand Positions- Manual Ed.

My Favorite.
Behold, a mostly pictorial commentary on steering wheel hand positions.  This commentary will focus on manual transmission cars.  I will also define some steering position rules while driving a manual car. Manual transmissions have been referred to as "standard", "stick shift", "MT", "4spd", "5spd" or "6spd" in popular driving culture. Since i drive a manual, the "o'clock" orientations will refer to my left hand (since the right hand is usually changing gears).

"9 o'clock" - My steering wheel hand position of choice. This one is relaxed, not out to prove anything. It also gives you a perfect view of the instrument gauge. I like to keep my finger on the indicator switch for quick access. You also have access to steering mounted controls (if available). In my car the armrest is positioned perfectly to provide support. Ahhh... this is the way to cruise.

"10 and 2" - Unless you're driving past cops, this position is not preferred while driving stick shift. I have a rule: the "10 and 2" steering positions is not allowed in the M3 or any other race inspired vehicles.  For me, the 2 hand version of this in a manual car would be "11 and 5"... By the way, '10 and 2" always works when driving past cops. The perception is that you're behaving.

"12 o'clock" - "12" says "I'm in control here" or "outta my way!".  According to my observations, this is a popular choice for males.  Depending on how you actually hold the steering wheel and how straight your arm is, it can come off as aggressive. As with all of these steering wheel positions, this one has many variations.  And yes, this one is macho, very macho... perhaps too macho for me. 

"7 o'clock" - Lazy. Depending on the design of the armrest in your vehicle, this can also be optimal position for cruising (typically in SUVs).  "7 o'clock" is my bumper-to-bumper traffic position for when i'm bored or feel lazy.  Some people even use their knees O_o (not recommended).

"2 o'clock" - This is my own modified version of "12 o'clock", but to the side. It doesn't come off as aggressive and also gives a good view of the instrument panel. This position keeps you ready to turn either way.  I have adopted this wheel position as my "active" steering wheel position, used during "spirited driving".  Works well in the BMW M3.

Position used for "spirited driving"

"1 o'clock" - GANGSTA. Must tilt your frame to the side alittle (or a lot depending on the effect you want).  You can also tilt your seat all the way back for dramatic effect, almost as if you're lying down and ready for a nap.  If you have black limo tints, windows must be rolled down all the way.  This is not an optimal steering wheel position for a manual car at all.

"The Horn" - I understand the concept of the horn, to alert a distracted driver of his/her mistake.  But i'll tell you one thing, I've avoided several accidents at low and high speeds by not wasting my time with the horn.  In my mind, getting out of the idiot's way is priority.  If I survive the incident, I'll consider beeping my horn after my heart rate becomes normal.  Sometimes a horn exaccerbates the situation and throws the unattentive driver off even further.  Of course, each situation differs, the horn can be very useful in some situations....

Steering wheel hand positions above
are assumed to be in this "Normal" seating position
(unless otherwise noted)

1 comment:

  1. I see the greatest contents on your blog and I extremely love reading them. nissan micra bonnet


Comments welcome.