Driving with one hand

Ask The Driving School Instructor: Driving With One Hand

Question: Is it safe to drive with one hand?

Answer: I will say that it’s only safe to drive temporarily with one hand but not all the time. If you need to adjust a control such as the air conditioner or windshield wipers or to pick up something one hand on the wheel is fine. However, you shouldn’t get in the habit of driving with one hand all the time. Driving with one hand doesn’t give you full control over steering and it could hurt you very badly in certain circumstances. Let’s look at a couple of the ways that driving with one hand could be dangerous.

Driving distractions can be even more dangerous when driving with one hand. Most people tend to put their hand at the top of the steering wheel. If you were to to turn your body to look for or to reach for something, you may inadvertently pull the wheel in the direction your body is turning. If that happens while your eyes are off the road, you could drive over into the other lane or off the side of the road.

If you were suddenly involved in a traffic crash in which your airbag deployed, with one hand positioned at the top of the wheel, your hand and arm are going to be driven back into your face at 200 mph. It could break your arm and it isn’t going to do wonders for your face either.

Older drivers were taught to always keep their hands at the 9 or 10 o’clock and 3 or 2 o’clock positions on the steering wheel. Today, because of airbags, safety experts suggest keeping your hands lower on the wheel at  the 8 and 4 o’clock positions. Don’t wrap your thumbs around the wheel. Instead, rest your thumbs on top of the wheel. With your hands and thumbs in this position, you’ll have more control and you’re less likely to be injured if your airbag deploys.