Proper positioning for hands on the steering wheel is no longer 10-2. Safety experts and police recommend that drivers place their hands anywhere from 9-3 to as low as 7-4.

The 10-2 position has been the traditional favorite because, in theory, a higher grip allows a driver to keep the car running smoothly without needing to jerk the wheel suddenly if cut off or if there is a hazard in the road.

But air bags have changed that equation. During a collision, the bag will explode out at more than 100 mph, protecting the driver's head and chest from slamming into the front of the vehicle. At 10-2 or higher on the wheel, a driver's arms can get walloped or thrown back into his or her face if an air bag deploys.

Other air bag tips:
• Never cross your hands or place them on the hub of the steering wheel while driving. That is when most injuries occur, as one's arms are launched into the face.
• Two hands on the wheel, whatever the position.
• Sit at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel or dashboard.
• If pregnant, place the lap belt low on your abdomen and tilt the steering wheel toward your chest.
• Never install a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat of a car with air bags.
• Have children 12 or under ride in the rear seat.


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