Put both hands on the wheel

This is possibly the simplest way to improve you driving skill

IQ test: Spot the moron (above)Pretty basic, isn't it? Many drivers ‘evolve’ (if that’s the right word) to driving one-handed. When the chips are down, and you are forced to swerve, avoid an obstacle (a child who runs in front of you, an animal on the road, or a car that darts out from a side-street, etc.) then driving with one hand on the steering wheel is an unmitigated liability. There are crash-avoidance situations where the best driver on earth would crash if driving one-handed. In the same situation, however, you could successfully swerve, avoid and recover if driving two handed.

Most one-handed drivers are also driving with the one hand on the wheel in the wrong position as well - another glaring liability when a hazard pops up.

Your hands should remain on the wheel at all times when they’re not needed elsewhere – left hand at the 9 o’clock position and the right at 3 o’clock. Failing to do this is a dumb, lazy habit.

Obviously, when turning left and sometimes right at intersections you might need to reposition your hands to drag sufficient steering lock into play. At other times, however, there is no justifiable excuse to drive with your hands all over the shop – especially in a car with an automatic transmission.

Having both hands on the wheel at 9 and 3 also ensures you know instinctively where straight ahead (and therefore left and right) are – this is essential if, for example, the car is skidding and you’ve otherwise lost touch with where the wheels are pointing. Knowing where ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘straight ahead’ are is a real advantage in this situation.

If you doubt this advice please watch the video above, which is actual crash footage shot by a car-mounted safety camera. The camera's impact sensor tells the unit to save the seconds in memory leading up to a crash, as well as the aftermath. You get the forward-facing view (as if you're the driver) first, and then the in-cabin footage of the driver afterwards. It's a compelling case for several of the points raised on this page. Remember, it's a real-life crash, not an ad.

Having your hands at 9 and 3 also ensures your arms won’t get in the way of the airbag if it deploys in a crash.

safetyJohn CadoganComment