Garner, N.C. — The American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, a national group of driving instructors, is issuing new guidelines that change some age-old driving techniques and take into account safer vehicles that have new safety features.
Improved air bags have prompted changes in the "10-and-2 o'clock" hand position on the steering wheel.
"If there's a collision and an air bag deploys, that puts your fingers and hands in the way," William Powell, a driver education instructor in Garner, said.
Hands and arms obstructing the air bag during deployment could fly back and hit the driver, resulting in a broken nose or concussion. To avoid injury, experts recommend placing hands in a lower position, at 8-and-4 or 9-and-3.
Hand placement is important when turning as well. Instead of crossing arms over the air bag, experts recommend pushing and pulling the wheel around.
Powell also reminds drivers to sit back far enough from the steering wheel.
"You want the air bag to be able to do its job if it's ever deployed," Powell said. "That means it comes out at 250 mph, and it won't hit you in the face."