QOTD: 10 and 2 or 9 and 3?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Over the holiday break I saw some sort of minor Twitter/X spat between automotive journalists -- apparently one posted a picture of themselves driving and another took issue with hand placement -- and I got to wondering: Where on the steering wheel do you put your hands?

I am not linking to the Twitter beef -- it's not necessary and I don't want to risk ruining anyone's mentions without a good reason. I will, however, answer the question -- I am a 9 and 3 guy. As in, if the wheel was a clock, the left hand would be on the 9 and the right on the 3.

You might think that I would be a 10 and 2 guy, since that's what I think my parents' generation was taught, but I remember reading an interview with a famous racer -- I think it was Mario Andretti -- where the driver said 9 and 3 is the best position to avoid getting crossed up.

Now, even though I occasionally get to drive in a spirited manner for this job, sometimes on a track or at an autocross, I don't find myself being worried about getting crossed up often in daily driving. That would be weird. But I find 9 and 3 comfortable -- more so than 10 and 2.

Furthermore, my parents' generation didn't come of age with airbags. Baby boomers were in their 30s and 40s when airbags went mainstream. Taking the remote possibility of a collision triggering an airbag into the equation, I believe 9 and 3 puts you at less risk for arm injury in that situation.

That said, I do occasionally get lazy and one-arm it, or move my hands around a bit just to mix things up. Sometimes I shuffle steer. I try to minimize this -- again, 9 and 3 seems best for car control and safety -- but I am not perfect.

So, what do you do? 10 and 2? 9 and 3? One hand it? Gangster lean? Something else?

Sound off below.

[Image: LeManna/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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4 of 37 comments
  • Pianoboy57 Pianoboy57 on Dec 28, 2023

    I like 9 and 1. I've been doing it for years

  • AZFelix AZFelix on Dec 29, 2023

    Follow up question:

    Do you reposition your hands clockwise on the steering wheel during Daylight Savings Time?

    • See 1 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Dec 29, 2023

      Arizona, as you must be aware, doesn't honor DST. Various methods of convincing Arizonans to adopt DST have failed, even the argument "You're now on California time!"

  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.
  • ToolGuy Lose a couple of cylinders, put the rest in a straight line and add a couple of turbos. Trust me.
  • ToolGuy Got no money for the Tasman, it is going to the Taxman. 🙁