Hold Your Steering Wheel at the "9 - 3 " Position
Millions of Americans who learned to drive before the age of modern air bags are risking severe damage to their arms and hands -- and even amputation -- because of how they hold the steering wheel.
Driving experts say the old position at the top of the wheel, 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, risks potentially traumatic injuries in a crash, thanks to the force and direction of air bags in modern cars.
Instead, holding the wheel at a lower position, 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock, will protect drivers' hands and the arms better.
Wrong: Holding your hands too high on the steering wheel risks injury if the airbag deploys
The National Transpiration Safety Board, the agency that monitors and oversees car safety, has reported some truly horrific injuries as a result of drivers improperly placing their hands on their steering wheels, according to MSNBC.
These include, in extreme cases, severed fingers or hands, broken arms and even degloving -- the skin being torn away entirely from the fingers and hand.
In more common, and less terrifying cases, arms can be flung into faces during airbag deployment, causing broken noses and concussions.
'If the bag is going to go, it's going to take my hand and put it into my face -- either one of my hands,' Bob Hendrickson, the head of AAA driving schools in Indiana, told WTHR-TV in Indianapolis.
Experts say the higher on the wheel your hands are, the more likely they are to be struck by the steering wheel cover that shoots off as the airbag violently expands at 150 to 250 mph.
Dangerous: Airbags deploy violently, at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour. They can cause traumatic injuries to hands and arms.
Fixing the problem calls for holding the wheel lower, with hands almost parallel.
Old-school driving instructors taught their students to hold their hands high on the wheel for better control.
Looking at the steering wheel as a clock, it meant drivers putting their hands at the 10 o'clock position and the 2 o'clock position.
But drivers need to move their hands down to the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions.
Some instructions say hands should be even lower -- 8 o'clock and 4 o'clock -- but some research suggests that position might result in less vehicle control.