Holding your wheel at 10 and 2 is a common misconception because that’s what was previously taught. However, those that may have gone to driving school a little more recently will remember that they were instructed to place their hands at 9 and 3.
Why 9 and 3?
To put it simply, it’s safer.
When drivers have their hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel, it can be dangerous in vehicles with smaller steering columns. When airbags deploy and your hands are in this position, you run the risk of severe injuries to your fingers and entire hands — which can include traumatic fractures and amputations.
When your hands are higher up on the wheel, they’re more likely to be directly over the airbag compartment when it deploys. In order for airbags to deploy, it’s filled with extremely hot nitrogen gas which is what helps it escape the plastic covering on your steering wheel — at around 150 to 250 mph.
Having your hands placed at 9 and 3 mitigates the risks of injuring your hands if the airbag deploys, and AAA also strongly recommends this driving position for seniors. It offers arm leverage and vehicle control, as well as 180-degree steering input without needing to remove your hands from the steering wheel.