Although you are allowed to cross your hands while steering – providing the steering is smooth, safe and controlled – pull push steering is the DVSA approved method because it is safer. Crossing your hands over the centre of the steering wheel enables you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times, it’s just as quick as any other method and it keeps your arm away from the airbag.
This is how driving examiners are told to assess your steering:
“To ensure uniformity, when conducting car or vocational tests and ADI qualifying examinations, only assess the candidate’s ability to control the vehicle and do not consider it as a fault if, for example, they do not hold the steering wheel at ten to two or quarter to three or if they cross their hands when turning the steering wheel. The assessment should be based on whether the steering is smooth, safe and under control.”
How to steer using the pull push method:
– Take the pulling hand up to the very top of the steering wheel – a little past 12 o’clock if you like. This first pull is your most valuable input, so make the most of it.
– Bring that hand all the way down to the bottom of the wheel, while at the same time sliding the other hand down to the bottom to meet it.
– When it reaches the bottom and comes into contact with the other hand, and NOT before, start pushing up with that hand, while sliding the first hand back to the top ready for another pull, if necessary.
– When unwinding the steering, do the same in reverse. Get a hand right up to the top, and make the first pull really count. Unwinding is often more difficult than winding “on”, because it has to be done quickly, as the car is now accelerating away from the corner.
– Remember that only one hand is active at a time – either pulling, or pushing, but not both together.
How NOT to pull push:
– The “shuffle”. The hands only complete half a pull, or push, at a time (or less). This is what makes pull-push look difficult – because it is, if you do it like that!
– The “hand over hand”. Here the pushing hand is not “pulling its weight” so the pulling hand has to rush back to the top of the wheel to start another pull. Imagine someone pulling a rope in, with one very weak arm. The other arm has to do all the work.
Now practice with a dinner plate, a circular tray or something similar. If you choose something breakable, make sure it’s not expensive!