Safety in the car: the hand on the steering wheel

The young woman has made herself comfortable. The seat back is folded far back, the legs are on the dashboard. Your friend drives just 80 km/h, more is not possible in the traffic. Suddenly has to brake but does not manage to avoid the crash. Fender bender! The driver escapes unharmed, protected by airbag and seat belt. But his young girlfriend is in a bad way. First she is catapulted with both legs into the windshield. Both ankles are broken, the legs are full of cuts. Then the airbag threw the legs upwards with full force, the body slid forward at the same time. The result is a pelvic fracture. The young woman is lucky that her neck is not broken.

At an impact speed of 50 km/h, the car occupants are accelerated up to 30 times their body weight. Only from a speed of 25 kilometers per hour the airbags shoot out of their hiding places. Before, the safety belt alone is responsible for minimizing the consequences of the accident. It reduces the risk of serious or fatal injuries to 50 percent. The airbag manages another quarter. Not a bad result! Despite this, several thousand car drivers are killed in accidents every year in germany alone.

Backrest as steep as possible

Seat belts, pre crash safety system, electronically controlled braking systems, front airbags, side airbags, top and bottom airbags, and more. The cars are packed with safety equipment. But if you don’t sit properly in your seat, even the most sophisticated safety systems won’t help you. When a car hits an obstacle, the airbag, the safety belt and the yielding steering column work together. As soon as one component is not used or does not function, or the passengers are not seated correctly, the entire safety system is ruined, because it is always tuned to this one optimal seating position. And if you ask the experts in german motoring, such as the legendary multiple rally world champion walter rohrl, or the five-time DTM champion bernd schneider or michael schumacher, they all have the same answer: the headrests must be pulled out so far that they are roughly level with the head height.

The backrest must be positioned as steeply as possible so that the body is not catapulted upwards to the roof of the car by hard braking or, in an emergency, by the pressure of the airbag. The safety belt must run exactly over the collarbone and must not slip off the shoulder or squeeze into the neck. In addition, the lap belt should still be pulled tightly. The seat must be pushed forward until the wrists rest on top of the steering wheel with the arms outstretched. The shoulder blades must still be in contact with the backrest. Both hands must always be in the quarter to three position. The thumbs should rest firmly on the spokes. With this positioning, you can easily turn the steering wheel half a circle without letting go of it, and still make it around almost any curve. All other postures at the steering wheel are incorrect and dangerous!

pizza maker posture

But in real existing road traffic you see something else. Straight outstretched arms are common. They are supposed to symbolize sporty driving, but in reality this positioning only shows that the driver has as much knowledge of driving as the eskimo has of the desert. In any case, you can’t get a significant turn of the steering wheel with it. The pizza chef’s position is also frequently observed, with the wrist circling the steering wheel just as paolo spreads the tomato sauce on the dough in the trattoria. Or the milking posture, in which the driver grips every ten centimeters, stripping, strapping, straining, so to speak. In case of emergency you lose too much time to keep the car on course or to recover it.

The steering wheel is often touched with one hand, sometimes from the inside, sometimes from the outside. In an emergency, even the best driver has no chance to steer the car. This also applies to the specialists who rest their hand in the middle of the steering wheel. If the airbag is released, your own hand hits you in the face with the force of a klitschko fist. The distance between the driver and the airbag should be 30 centimeters, because the airbag shoots out of its holder at around 200 kilometers per hour. In addition to the correct positioning of the hands and the upper body, it is also important to make the correct adjustment. The left knee must still be slightly bent when the clutch is depressed, so that in the event of a crash the full force of the impact is not transferred to the hip.

A car race usually lasts no longer than two hours

Also, the right leg must not be fully extended when the brake is applied. Because on the one hand, during a full braking maneuver, all the force belongs on the brake pedal, which is about 140 kilograms if it goes well. Only with this pressure does the brake work optimally together with the ABS. on the other hand, you should also be able to pedal powerfully, because when the brake discs are hot, the pedal travel is usually even longer. The advice given by the professionals is not only relevant to safety, it is also sensible from an orthopedic point of view. And if all this seems too uncomfortable, you should think about taking breaks more often. After all, a car race usually lasts no longer than two hours!

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