THREE AND NINE: Gisela Bernet behind the wheel.
THREE AND NINE: Gisela Bernet behind the wheel. Christopher Pavlich

Drivers still holding the wheel with old technique

WHERE do you hold the steering wheel? Still positioned at 10 and two? That's a dated technique.

Driver trainers now encourage a three and nine position for improved car control and reduced fatigue.

"With your thumbs at a quarter to three it's just a rotation in and out,” Performance Driving trainer Steve Robinson said.

"Even when you have a lot of lock you still have a nice bend in your elbow. That lets us know exactly where the front wheels are pointing.

"When we start to push pull everything you lose exactly where you are going.”

Holding the wheel high means your arms are positioned above your heart. A recent study by engineering students at the Romanian University of Galati found the "10-2 zone is the most disadvantageous for blood circulation”.

Your heart has to work harder to push blood to the hands and in situations of stress there is a tendency to tighten the steering grip.

"If you are holding it up here (10 and two) it's above your heart, and that's all good if you we driving in a straight line, but when you rotate you start to steer with your body,” Robinson said.

In the event of an accident, the airbag can also deploy and cause arm injuries to those who hold the wheel too high.

Most new steering wheels have rest spots in the nine and three position, which also provides easy access to wheel controls, as well as the wiper and indicator stalks.

Analyse your position behind the wheel, and set the height so your hands are slightly below your heart when you are holding the wheel at three and nine while still maintaining clear vision of your instruments.