How to Hold [and NOT hold] Your Steering Wheel

(Last Updated On: April 22, 2017)

Hand over Hand & General steering video by Eric L. (Driving instructor in North Vancouver)



Poor Steering Technique: Hooking


  • Hooking the wheel is when you grab it like this:





  • Some drivers use this technique before/while doing a turn.
  • This could be quite terrible in the event of a collision where the steering wheel airbag were to deploy – which does so at about 300 km/hr.
  • Arms could also potentially get stuck and injured in the event of a collision.
  • If you are seen using this technique on the ICBC road test you will not pass the road test, even if your driving is otherwise perfect.
  • And since you asked, let’s look at some other ways to hold the wheel/steering:


Poor Steering Technique: Palming


  • Avoid “Palming” the wheel as well as it is not good control at all:




 Poor Steering Technique: “12 and Stick”


  • Try and avoid the “12 and Stick” position as well.
  • Two hands on the wheel are much better control than one:


Steering 12 and Stick


Recommended Steering Technique: ‘9 and 3’


  • The #1 recommended way to hold the wheel for general driving is at the 9 and 3 position.
  • You can turn the wheel the most while keeping your hands on the wheel and it is the best position if the airbag were to deploy.
  • Many wheels even have thumb/finger grips to encourage drivers to hold the wheel here:



9 and 3




Steering Technique: ’10 and 2′?


  • 10 and 2 could be deadly in the event of a crash and is no longer recommended by professionals due to the risk of airbag injuries.
  • It used to be “the way,” but now that cars have airbags, it is going out of style.


CTV News – 10 and 2 Dangerous, say experts.



10 and 2


  • Back in the good old days when it was a rule that you had to have your hands at 10 and 2, there were no air bags inside of steering wheels.
  • Now it is Canadian law that all new vehicles are equipped with a steering wheel airbag (and many cars have airbags in additional locations).
  • Times change, and so must our habits.


Steering Technique: ‘8 and 4’?


  • 8 and 4 is acceptable in my opinion when driving for long distances on the highway/freeway.


Maazda 8 and 4


Steering Technique: Shuffle Steering


  • A good way to steer is to use the shuffle steering method:    



  • Do not sit too close to the steering wheel
  • Make sure you’re sitting no closer than 25 cm to the steering wheel.




 Do not put feet on airbags


  • DO NOT let people rest their legs on the dashboard unless they are fine with resting their legs on a bomb.




What else have you been doing wrong?  😆

16 Things You’ve Been Doing Completely Wrong : FASHIONBEANS

Drive safely!


Many moons ago, Carmen became an ICBC-approved driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, and has spent many years working with new and experienced drivers around the lower mainland. She can be found reading the Motor Vehicle Act for fun while receiving strange looks from others. May the quest for great driving continue!

Related Post

  • ELi

    I have a question regarding to blocking x walk ..

    I a going to turn left .in 2 ways stop ( I do believe the name I am using is not correctly correct … )
    As I do not have a good
    vision .. I have to come over Pedestrian Crosswalk .. But the traffic is
    heavy … which then ( while at first there was not any ) the pedestrian come over…
    Is that wrong ?

    which timeexaminers would penalized as Blocking X walk ?


  • Joakim Nilsen

    Hi Carmen. 9 to 3 is correct, but the woman in the video is doing it wrong. She has 10 to 2, sometimes even 11 to 1. Shuffling the steering wheel is not smart, because you often end up with both hands very close to each other, which can give you less control if you need to steer quickly away from an abstruction in the road. How do you do it yourself? I recommend climbing from 12 to 7 when going left and 12 to 5 when going right. Sorry for my bad Norwegian English. Best regards from Joakim Nilsen, Driving Instructor from Norway.

  • WatchaLaughingAtGigglyBits

    I love how this article talks about hand positions being at 9 and 3, yet you showcase a video of a woman that’s maintaining both hands near the top of the wheel.

    • Thanks, Maybe I’ll have to update that. She obviously doesn’t read this website.

  • Beitt

    The videos are so confusing to me I don’t know why I’m just not getting it right now