10 & 2 or 9 & 3? Personal Injury lawyer Ben Schwartz talks about how to hold the steering wheel in a car to protect you in case of an accident. Airbags can actually hurt you if you’re holding the wheel at 10 & 2.
Hi, I am Attorney Ben Schwartz.
Today we are going to do a viewer question from Keith in Delaware. Keith wrote in, he said basically he’s taking a Drivers Ed course. The instructor told the class that you should hold the steering wheel at the 10:00 o’clock and 2:00 o’clock positions. Apparently, Keith tried to ask the instructor “Doesn’t that make it somewhat unsafe? Because what if the airbag goes off?” The instructor said, “Look, this is how you do it, you are supposed to hold the steering wheel at 10:00 and 2:00.”
Well, Keith, I’m here to tell you as a personal injury lawyer who handles significant injury cases involving car accidents with airbag deployment, you should absolutely not hold the steering wheel at the ten o’clock and two o’clock positions. The reason is that when they came up with the idea of holding a steering wheel at 10:00 and 2:00, it was before power steering. When I was a kid, you know, the cars that people drove did not tend to have power steering. You would have to really muscle the wheel around to get the car to steer if you were going at a slow speed. So, you would need to have your hands at 10 and 2 in order to be able to force the wheel around. That’s how you get as much leverage as possible.
Nowadays, cars have power steering – almost all cars have power steering. Not only do they have power steering, but they have airbags in the center of the steering wheel and if you get into a frontal impact and the airbag goes off, you can cause significant injury to your hands, your forearms, your thumbs. We have had numerous cases where people have had thumbs amputated after an airbag deployment. People have broken their hands, broken bones in their hands, broken bones in their arms after an airbag deployment because of the way their hands were looped through the steering wheel.
If you have got your thumbs wrapped around the steering wheel and the airbag goes off, what happens to your thumbs? You can cause significant injuries by having your hands in the 10:00 and 2:00 positions. I like to say if you have your hands on your knees under the steering wheel and you hold it that way, or you put your hands at the 9:00 and 3:00 o’clock positions, I would say that’s much safer. Also, don’t cover the airbag with your thumbs, don’t loop your thumbs through the steering wheel, otherwise, you’re asking for trouble if you have an airbag deployment.
I think that’s a great question. If you’re watching this video and you have a question for me about automotive safety or car accident cases or personal injury litigation or anything of that nature, please either leave us a comment on this video or send me an email below. Thanks for watching!