When learning to drive you were encouraged to ‘feed’ the wheel through your hands and keep them at the ‘ten-to-two’ or ‘quarter-to-three’ position when travelling in a straight line . . . . So, what happened?
Graham Carpenter has trained thousands of chauffeurs over the years and explains how important a good steering technique and position of hands on the wheel is for a professional chauffeur…
“Can you honestly tell me, hand on heart that you still use this steering method today?
As a professional chauffeur maybe some of you do? But, having assessed quite literally thousands of chauffeurs, I can honestly say the majority don’t!
So, why make a fuss over how you steer a vehicle? I’ve not had any accidents? Nobody has complained about my driving? I’m very happy with the way I drive. Well, It’s all about being professional.
The ‘push-pull’ or ‘feeding’ method was encouraged as a learner as it produces a more balanced, safer feel when negotiating turns. When you then passed the driving test and gained some experience things started to move a little faster, but you cannot physically use the ‘pull-push’ method at these faster speeds.
It is at that precise point that you begun to cross your hands over the steering wheel. Let the wheel slip back through your hands, drive with your thumb hooked over the bottom of the wheel and your other hand resting firmly on your lap or perhaps the elbow resting on the window frame of the door?
The vast majority of us do this without realising it and purely by mentioning this will make you more aware and get you into a form of self-correct mode?
So, why all the fuss? Well, as a professional chauffeur you need to be head and shoulders above the norm and more importantly in front of the client’s you chauffeur. Your clients are invariably seated behind you (some prefer the front passenger seat?) They work in your vehicle, they sleep in your vehicle, they look at what’s happening outside your vehicle, they will occasionally chat with you in your vehicle and they WATCH YOU!
The greatest compliment anyone can pay a chauffeur is to fall asleep in their vehicle during a journey. Why? Because they are satisfied your driving is of a sufficiently high standard that they feel comfortable. Believe me, they won’t if you’re not.
A major part of this is your deportment at the steering wheel (more of that in a later article) – how you position your hands on the wheel, how you execute the turn and the straightening up process. When your hands are in the correct position on the wheel this equals CONTROL to your client – they will feel safer seeing your hands in that position.
I know because they’ve told me! They may not drive that way themselves, but they certainly expect it of a professional chauffeur. It also produces a much smoother drive and client comfort, as we all know, is an essential requirement for the modern chauffeur.