Common steering faults

  • Learning to drive?
  • Steering not quite right?

Here’s how to fix the most common steering faults.

The shuffle

Some new drivers have a habit of shuffling the wheel – only moving the hands a few centimeters rather than taking large sweeps when turning the steering wheel. This becomes a major problem during manoeuvres that need a lot of steering and will cause the car to under-steer… In other words, it won’t turn enough and you will run out of road.


Resting your arms on the window ledge or holding the wheel in unorthodox positions will eventually cause problems. Stick with the ‘ten-to-two’/’quarter’ steering position as taught by your instructor, this will keep your body balanced in the seat and give the best control.

Kerb crawling

Looking at the kerb instead of well ahead will cause the car to drift in. The opposite happens if you look at the centre line. Remember, look well ahead and aim at what you want to hit – that is, aim to hit the empty spaces.

Being too interested!

If you concentrate on any one thing for too long you will be drawn off course. This is one of the reasons why quick glances in the mirror are better that ‘long stares’, but it’s not just long looks in the mirror that cause problems. Looking for too long at any fixed point will cause problems; if something needs more attention keep flicking your eyes away and then back again.

Turning right

This is an example of the importance of looking well ahead which will help you to steer efficiently when you start to do right turns.

Straightening up when turning right

At point ‘A’, assuming that it is safe to make the turn, fix your view well along the new road by looking through the drivers door window towards point ‘C’ or beyond; as your head or your eyes start to move back towards the front of the car (while you ar still looking at point ‘C’), move the steering back wheel with them by turning it to the left.


  • On the diagram, the driver starts to steer at point ‘A’. At this point observation should be (assuming that it is safe to turn) through the driver’s door window, towards point ‘C’.
  • At point ‘B’ the drivers head will be moving back to the front as the view of point ‘C’ is moving from the drivers door window to the windscreen.
  • As the driver’s head moves, the wheel should also move (gently) to straighten up the car. This is because, although the car is still angled across the road at point ‘B’, the front wheels are pointing towards point ‘C’.

Drivers who do not ‘aim at what they want to hit’ (point ‘C’) will usually straighten up late or need to rush the steering, turning the wheel faster than is really necessary. If you wait until the car is straight before turning the wheel to straighten up… It will be too late.

An on-line driving lesson (how to steer correctly) courtesy of Driver Active