Don't Hold Your Steering Wheel at 10 and 2

Hold your hand in front of your face — take your glasses off first — at arm's length.

Now smack yourself in the face between 150 and 250 miles per hour.

That's how fast an airbag deploys. And how fast you'll smack yourself in the face if you're holding your steering wheel at the 10:00 and 2:00 positions when it happens.

People over a certain age were told to hold our steering wheels at 10 and 2 because that was the proper way to drive.

Except we need to stop doing that because it's dangerous.

Person holding a steering wheel at 9 and 3.
These days, new drivers are taught to hold the steering wheel at 9 and 3 because you're less likely to break your hands or arms or smash yourself in the face if the airbag deploys.

To put that into perspective, Mike Tyson could deliver a punch at roughly 14 meters per second, which equals 31.3 miles per hour.

So an airbag will make you punch yourself up to eight times faster than Mike Tyson.

Add the super hot nitrogen gas flashes, and you'll see why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported many horrific airbag injuries caused when people hold the wheel at 10 and 2.

Including something called degloving, which, trust me, you don't want to search for.

That's why I was a little irritated with a recent article released by the British car leasing company, Select Car Leasing. They teamed up with psychotherapist Lohani Noor to create a "personality assessment" based on how a person grips their steering wheel.

The Daily Mail also reported on the story and added their own nonsense to the piece, taking something pseudo-scientific and elevating it to the level of palm reading and power crystals.

For example, there's The Minimalist. This is the person who keeps their right hand on the bottom right of the steering wheel. (Or the left hand on the bottom left for the United States since steering wheels are on the left here.)

The Minimalist is a "no fuss, no-frills, steady as she goes" driver who likes to keep things simple.

"You don't need scores of friends," the Daily Mail sobbed, eating a can of cake frosting with a spoon. "In fact, you can count them on one hand – which might explain why it comes ever-so-naturally to steer with one hand, too."

Yes, yes, you're very clever, Daily Mail.

There's The Boss, who holds the steering wheel at 8 and 4. If you drive like The Boss, "taking charge comes naturally," and you "have confidence in your own ability."

"Finding the right match in love may take a little longer, but when you do, it will be worthwhile," said the Daily Fish Wrapper.

Seriously? That wasn't even in the original "assessment." Where did this nonsense come from? Stick with celebrity stalking.

There's The Cool Dude, who drives with one hand at the top of the steering wheel. This person is laid back and doesn't take life too seriously. They project casual and confident vibes and avoid getting stressed out.

It's amazing that one hand on the steering wheel can tell you a person's entire personality.

(Narrator: He wasn't actually amazed.)

This describes me to a T, but only because I drive a stick shift. Still, the pose has upped my cool factor significantly.

I recently walked into a coffee shop while wearing sunglasses.

"What can I get you, Corey Hart?" asked a snotty barista.

I said, "Watch it, buster. I drive with one hand on the steering wheel."

A hush fell over the place as the barista apologized and gave me my Cool Dude drink for free: decaf latte with lavender.

But after being reminded about the whole airbag thing, I'm going to start holding the wheel like a Minimalist so I don't give myself a WWE forearm smash.

Two things bothered me about this whole personality "assessment."

One is that this is nothing more than physiological astrology. Are they really saying there are only nine personality types, all based on how we hold a steering wheel?

Apparently, we're not taking into account years of psychological research by university-trained clinical psychologists with PhDs, like my father. We're just assessing a person's entire personality based on their driving posture.

At least astrology has three more personality options, which can all fluctuate when Mercury is in retrograde.

The other thing that bugged me is that Select Car Leasing still promotes the "standard 10 and 2" position.

This person is The Perfectionist, the one who "dots the i's and crosses the t's" and "plays by the rules."

But this isn't safe anymore, and I would hope that a car leasing company wouldn't actually encourage people to hold their steering wheel in a way that could result in. . . yeesh, degloving.

(Sorry, I just looked it up. Trust me, just. . . just don't.)

And the person who holds the steering wheel safely? The one who won't get a bloody forearm smash right to the face?

That's The Nervous One. They've got the death grip held at 9 and 3. They feel a lot of anxiety, but they're extremely thorough.

And, says the Daily Mail, "People who know you know what a good friend you are."

They may be nervous, but they're also the safest, and they want you to keep safe as well. Because friends don't let friends drive at 10 and 2.

Remember, you can't spell deglove without love.

Photo credit: (Creative Commons 0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.