Telling Time - 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Telling Time

October 11, 2011

Jetta wheel.jpg

Our Jetta has a feature that's common in lots of cars: thumb-friendly bump-outs on the steering wheel that let you comfortably place your hands at the 10 and 2 positions.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I learned at Edmunds' annual driving school last week that 10 and 2 are not the best positions for your hands when you're driving. You're better off at 9 and 3 or even 4 and 8. (It goes without saying that you shouldn't be a 6:30 or high-noon driver.)

During our evasive maneuver exercise, the instructor laid out the reasoning for us: Let's say your hands are at 10 and 2 and you're in the midst of a sharp swing left. Your right arm is now in front of the airbag, which is set to cushion your chest and head -- which are 18 inches away. Your arm, being much closer, is likely to get broken by the airbag when it explosively deploys.

Isn't it strange that many steering wheels invite a hand position that driving experts say is not the best for your safety? Judging by a quick Google search, our instructor was definitely not in the minority with his advice. Lots of driving schools -- and even New Jersey's driver's manual -- advise 9 and 3 as the safest position for a driver's hands.

Are you a 10-and-2 driver?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @12,150 miles

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