“10 and 2 hand position”

RORY: You didn’t say anything on the ride home.
LORELAI: I was concentrating.
RORY: So …
LORELAI: Well, I feel I’ve gotten sloppy with this whole “10 and 2” hand position thing.
RORY: Mm hmm.
LORELAI: Yeah seriously, the other day I caught myself doing a “9 and 4.”
RORY: Mom.
LORELAI: Well, if left uncorrected, that can only lead to a “6 and 12”, or worse yet, an “8 and 11”, which is not only dangerous but damn uncomfortable.

Lorelai is referring to the traditional instruction given in driver’s education training to keep your hands on the steering wheel as if one is at ten o’clock on a clock face, and the other one is marking two o’clock.

This information is now outdated, and in fact it was outdated even at the time Lorelai was saying it. Once airbags came in during the 1990s, this way of holding the steering wheel became potentially dangerous, as if you are holding the wheel at “10 and 2” when an airbag deploys, you risk having your fingers or hands crushed, or your nose broken.

Driving instructors now suggest “9 and 3” as a better position, or even “8 and 4”, as being safer and giving better control over the vehicles. Having said that, “6 and 12” and “8 and 11” are clearly wrong, and certainly neither would be comfortable nor safe.

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