Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Location: McLean, VA, USA
Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:56 am
I was taught this is a big NO-NO. In fact huge NO-NO. Enormous NO-NOOOOOOO. It's a taboo, it's a crime, it's the end of the World. You never ever even think of gripping the steering wheel from the inside - if you are worth at least something as a driver, that's it.
And I lived like that for 40 years, never questioning this piece of wisdom.
Now, lately, my wife started to make such grips time to time. I taught her to drive, I am proud of what we accomplished together in her driving, and surely I was all ready to fix her terrible mistake before it develops into a deadly habit.
I got a problem though. I am always quite logical in my teaching, I always explain things, not just state them. "You do it this way because otherwise this, this and this bad thing happens" - you know, this kind of explanation. Well, for the life of me I could not devise a logical explanation to why one shouldn’t grab the steering wheel from the inside. I still can't...
So, here is the challenge for anyone who wants to take part in it. Convince me that turning a steering wheel while holding it from the inside is a mortal sin. Or the opposite, absolutely harmless and even more convenient sometimes. You have to be logical, emotions and anecdotal evidence don't work for me.
A very big NO-NO in my book. Gripping the wheel from the inside reduces your leverage or amplitude by limiting the angle in which the shoulder joint can rotate. You can only turn the wheel to a limited range and in some of the common positions - towards one direction alone.
People believe that when an extreme conditions would arise, they would use the other hand but in action, they either fail to do so or make matters work by involving another hand quickly which jerks the wheel. Also, the hand hooked inside the wheel will stop you from rotating it further.
Also, when you grip the wheel this way, you are using too much upper body strength and muscles like the biceps and mainly the shoulder muscles, leading to unnecessary use of energy and very little sensitivity to the steering feedback and the amount of steering applied when turning. When steering, we are looking for less brute upper body strength and for a finer motor skill which is achieved when we use the forearm muscles and without undue tension in the arms.
One last reason, which I believe should not be under-estimated, is a great risk of injury during a collision. Even a pothole, curb you hit suddenly or a sudden maneuver can cause injuries in this position.
As another piece of evidence, I offer the words of another professional driving trainer and racing driver, as I value his advice as much as all the logical proof:
"What NOT to do
1. Operating the wheel with the hands hooked inside makes us work with our shoulders which not only carries less sensitivity, but also limits our ability of a quick response mainly through the limited angle of the shoulder cuff rotator when the palm is inside the wheel."
I believe that a bad driving posture, perhaps combined with limited upper body strength (I have found that this method is applied by feeble right-handed women as they turn left) and bad habits results in using this method. Re-inspecting the sitting habits of your wife would help and she will find that a proper steering grip (at quarter to three) and a more reasonable way of turning it, will also be more comfortable and ergonomic.
You could go as far as showing her the advanced rally driving steering style I onced showed in here. I believe that little details count for a lot, and that even the best and most vigilent drivers can benefit from improving the physical manner in which they operate the controls. It can cause a serious shift in the skill of driving.
Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Location: McLean, VA, USA
Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:12 am
OK, after giving another thought I see that my initial question was built incorrectly. I was not talking about driving on a highway and putting your hands to rest on the lower part of steering wheel. This is what your authority guy is talking about. This I totally agree on and can supply all the same arguments why it is a big no.
However, I was talking about different kind of situation. Close to zero speed and a sharp left turn performed by the right hand, it often happens in perpendicular parking or turning into narrow driveways. Or right turn and left hand of course. One grips the wheel from inside at the top of it, and turns it all the way down to the bottom and then some.
I just went to my car, sat there, and tried to move my arm around the steering wheel emulating both outside and inside grip. I found out that the total angle of comfortable turn is more or less the same, around 270-300 degrees. However, with the outside grip, the dead zone is located straight down. And with the inside grip it is located straight to the right for the right arm.
So, basically with inside grip when making a sharp turn one can perform it within one move of one arm, while with outside grip one would be forced to change the arms during the turn. And at that speed we don't really care about range in the opposite direction or sensitivity to steering wheel feedback.
This way it is starting to make some sense to me. How about you?
If you give my former post another read, you would see that I already addressed the driving style you speak of. You can also see the exact same scenario demonstrated in the video I added!
Good habits are habits. So bad habits should be refrained from even in slow manuevers. I also do not see a reason to apply such excessive effort to the arms (mainly the deltoids) and possibly risk injury, where you could be more relaxed. The hand inside the wheel in the driveway, soon turns into a hand inside the wheel at the left turn in the near junction and than on the highway...
The hand outside the wheel has a much more broad range of motion, as you could see in my previous examples of a proper steering techniques. When manuevering at a zero speed for parking, I would even accept "waxing" the wheel with one palm (giving you an infinite leverage at the wheel) provided that the other hand is on the wheel, too and that the habit is stricly restricted to parking.
Notice the angle of your shoulder and the tension in the biceps and deltoids when you turn the wheel from the inside. Also, consider what would happen should the wheel jerk suddenly from a hit, or should the airbag deploy, or with your hands thrown forward under the inertia in the accident.
I wouldn't say that it's evil, but I wouldn't say that it is the smartest thing in the world to do either. Lately, I have been finding that I am driving with one hand on the outside of the wheel, and one hand on in the inside. Not sure if that is good or bad!
It is certainly not good! If your seating position behind the wheel is well adjusted, you should feel comfortable and safe with both hands at the quarter to three position rather than in any other position.
With one hand on the outside and one inside, once you need to swerve suddenly, the hand inside the wheel is going to get stuck inside and prevent the other hand from turning it. It happens and it causes accidents (and injury to the hand inside the wheel).
I have an answer. I understand the question clearly... making a low speed sharp left or right turn and grabbing the wheel from the inside and giving it a yank...
Here's the no-no reason..
When you use hand over hand or even shuffle steering, your hands can use any part of the rim without any interference 100 % of the time. The outside rim is the same all 360* of its circumference.
The inside however contains the connections to the hub. So there are limited enterence points.. Once in a while a person will go for the inside grab, banging there fingers into a part of the wheel that's 'in the way' at that exact moment.. and loosing needed turning motion.
What could happen...? being to close to another parked car could end up with actual contact. ie a collission.
It's rare but possible...
Also.. in the event of a need to suddenly reverse steering input.. the inside grip is to committed.. it would be hard to suddenly have to switch directions. Where' as a hand over hand method allows for an instant reversal of input's.
So over all, inside grip work's "most of the time"...but it lacks that emergency readyness for those rare occaisions..
The issue is, .. if it developes into a habit.
Last edited by MonzaMan on Wed May 09, 2012 9:47 am; edited 1 time in total
So over all, inside grip work's "most of the time"...but it lacks that emergency readyness for those rare occaisions. The issue is, if it developes into a habit.
My point exactly! Almost all bad driving habits - following very closely behind another driver, making inattentive lane changes, speeding, etc - can end in no harm by the fault of some statistical mishap or "luck."
Even when they do end badly, is does not have to happen EACH time you do it. So, the solution is to refrain from the hazard entirely or as best as possible and not rely merely on one's experience of getting away with bad habits.
On another note, I am happy for the well-appreciated words of our newest member, not to mention that his nickname carries the name of one of the most famous of race tracks! It's nice to hear words of wisdom from another user! The more, the better!
Well you will notice that drivers are generally higher that the steering wheel and it require extra effort to hold steering from under. However if you are of small built you could strugle to hold steering from top and in situation you can hold steering from underneath. I am not aware of any law that say you should hold from top. It is howevre disappointing to note that you let this habbit to develope as the use of controls is covered in 1st driving lesson.
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