Pull-Push vs Hand-Over-Hand Steering Techniques
You should steer with both hands on the steering wheel (except when using another control), using either the ‘hand-over-hand’ or ‘pull-push’ method with your hands on the outside of the steering wheel. That's what the Roads and Maritime Services produced ‘A Guide to the Driving Test’ and the Driving Test NSW summary of that guide suggests you must do to pass the practical driving test and get a provisional P1 licence (Red Ps)
If you’ve never driven with a driving instructor, these techniques have probably never been described in detail. Your supervisors probably steer in whatever fashion they feel most comfortable and are not aware of the different techniques. As such, they have probably just let you steer in whatever manner has felt the most natural and comfortable. This is an example of the importance of seeking professional driving lessons while on your learner licence to ensure you pass the practical driving test.
To get an understanding of the difference, watch this short video that shows both techniques. The first 26 seconds shows the ‘pull-push’ method with the remainder of the video showing the ‘hand-over-hand’ method.
There is debate about the safety and control offered using these techniques. Despite the confidence shown by both sides of the debate that there's is the safest and best steering technique, it is far from conclusive.
As such, this post will not get into the reasons each technique is believed to be the best. Instead, we recommend that you:
- Watch the video above so you understand both techniques
- Practice both techniques while driving to get a feel for each
- Consult with a professional driving instructor about the technique they recommend and ask them questions about both techniques
- Decide on a technique based on which you feel gives you the most comfort and control while driving
Please note that an alternate steering method to the one you’ve been taught first will likely feel awkward when you begin to experiment. This shouldn’t immediately prevent you from choosing a different technique. Make sure you try the alternate method for an extended period before making a final decision.
Regardless of what anyone else says about the techniques, you should not feel uncomfortable while driving as this is far more likely to lead to an accident.