Shuffle Steering Technique

Let me give you some sound advice on steering. Do *not* grab the steering wheel from the inside, as this can be very dangerous. You won’t be able to correct the wheel’s position in case something unanticipated happens (like a vehicle suddenly appearing in the direction you’re turning towards).

There are different ways to steer the steering wheel, and this includes the following:

* Palming – A one-hand steering technique where you press your left palm (the hand not doing the shifting) onto the wheel to turn it round and round.
* Hand over hand – A two-handed technique where one hand may cross over the other hand when needed.
* Shuffle steering – Considered a safer way of operating the steering wheel. This entails your left hand staying on the left side of the wheel, and the right hand on the right side.

The best, by far, in my opinion is shuffle steering.

[Y]our left hand always stays on the left half of the wheel. Your right hand always stays on the right half of the wheel. So, the highest your hands can go is where both hands are at 12 o’clock (your hands touch their index fingers together). The lowest both hands can go is 6 o’clock (where your hands touch their pinkies together).

When you turn right, it is because your right hand is pulling down on the wheel. When you turn left, it is because your left hand is pulling down on the wheel. This pulling down comes from your back muscles, and is therefore very powerful. So, if you’re going to take a right turn, slide your right hand up the wheel, grip, and then start pulling down. If you “run out of wheel” (the right hand hit edge of its legal range of motion [6 o'clock]), the left hand can grab the wheel to keep it from turning, and you slide the right hand up, grab the wheel again, relax the left, and then continue pulling down with the right.

Bobby Ore has developed the ultimate steering technique, a variation of shuffle steering. In short, he adds one constraint, both hands must always be at the same height. In other words, here are some “legal” positions (given the left and then the right hand):

* 12 and 12 (index fingers touching)
* 11 and 1
* 10 and 2
* 9 and 3
* 8 and 4 (the suggested default grip)
* 7 and 5
* 6 and 6 (pinky fingers touching)

Note that if you know where one hand is, you know where the other hand is.

So think of this more like raising and lowering your hands, where they are at the same height. The only exception to this same height rule would be when you are adjusting the height of your hands without turning the wheel because you feel like doing so.

Shuffle steering is not only safe. It can also lessen the likelihood of getting soreness in your chest muscles and biceps, because it’s the stronger tricep and back muscles you’re using. This is especially useful if you’re operating a car without power steering.

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Written by on February 23, 2007 | 13 Comments Leave a Comment

13 Responses to “Shuffle Steering Technique”

  1. [...] be filming some videos soon. First up will be the shuffle steering technique I earlier wrote about. Then I’ll probably record something on how to properly drive with a [...]

  2. matthew says:

    about the shuffle technique,

    i argue that it isn’t the best way to drive:

    firstly, it takes too long if a quick sharp turn is needed
    this is also unsafe if say something unexpected happens and the only way to avoid an accident is to quickley swerve out of the way then hand over hand is your best option as it is the quickest but also has more of a grip on the wheel then palming

    secondly, shuffling is basically impossible in a manual car as you need one hand to operate the gear stick
    how can you turn and change gears at the same time when you shuffle?
    you would need to use the hand over hand or palm method

    thirdly, when driving around a corner the rotation of the wheel will need to be adjusted (you cant just lock the wheel at a certain point when turing), this is by far easier when using the hand over hand method.

    i drive a manual landcruiser deisel, so i constantly have to change gears (the top speed in 1st gear is about 20km/h). and i always get complaints because i don’t shuffle, which i have tried and find dangerous and annoying because of the reasons outlined above

  3. not an idiot says:

    that guy is an idiot. you take one hand off the wheel, shit, and put it back on the wheel. i do this all day long. your other comments are wrong as well. i bet you argue that double clutch is better than heel and toe.

  4. druid g says:

    shuffle steering is for old ladies who look through the steering wheel.

    your opinion is wrong. that is a fact.

    anyone that complains about a driver “not shuffle steering” should get out and walk.

    maybe when im 95 and driving my land yacht down 2 lanes of the highway ill think shuffle steering is the “bees knees” but for now i try to not be old and stupid.

  5. Tom Bright says:

    When we pay our thousand bucks for a highway survival course at Sears Point, Willow Springs, Road Atlanta or the like, our instructors disabuse us right at the outset of one of several relics of self-conscious adolescence: the cross-hand death grip on the steering wheel.

    The following newsreels clearly show Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio racing under pretty good control using the Shuffle Method. Five-time World Champion Fangio is considered to have been, with Jim Clark and Stirling Moss, the best ever, although I suppose Barney Oldfield might be up there, too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj11oTkbvkQ&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRc18SfbnIM&feature=related

    Note that this was back when drivers were fat and TIRES were skinny.

  6. alan-driving instructor says:

    Whatb a joke: shuffle steering?!?!

    best for control is pull-push and best for speed hand over hand. Thats over 500 students tought that way.

  7. MIchael says:

    Tom Bright, you silly boy…watch your own videos! While those driver are not crossing their hands they are certainly not using the shuffle method as it’s classically taught. Their hands are without a doubt going past the 12 oclock position (in particular the Fangio clip) and should they need more steering there is only one option left to them – to cross their hands to grab more wheel. I think we can surmise that these drivers are using a hybrid of styles that suit the particular corner. That seems to me the best method.

    I’ve watched in-car footage of an invitational race a Long Beach GP some years ago where the driver ran the entire race with one hand on the wheel and one on the stick. He won. There are always going to be exceptions to the rule. Unfortunately, lazy bums that we are sometimes, those exceptions can turn into terrible habits that can become costly accidents.

    Finally, the evolution of the car has had much to do with our method of steering. I certainly don’t want to tell Lewis Hamilton or Felipe Massa (current F1 World Champions 1 and 2) that they must abandon their fixed hand steering method in favor of the shuffle method? Nor do I want to tell a Nascar champion that he must use a fixed hand steering method! Perhaps, Tom, you’d like to tell these fellows how terrible they are at driving a car : )
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74BkkJNlYjw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETFRh6KTNM8
    I do know one thing: I naturally use the ‘Fangio Shufffle’ style because I am anticipating the turn and shuffling the hands into a ‘ahead of the curve’ better position is only logical. But then I’m actually paying strict attention to my driving when I’m behind the wheel. 90% of the population only think they are and that’s the real danger!

  8. Ricky Kraus says:

    Milking The Steering Wheel As A Shuffling

  9. Tim says:

    Calm down folks, this has been an ongoing debate for more years than I can remember.

    Push pull, fixed input, palming and rotational steering methods are all acceptable when employed properly to aid responsible car control.

    The art lies in being able to choose the right tool for the job, by which I mean assesing the vehicle type, road conditions and by ensuring the method allows a safety margin for the unforseen although hopefuly anticipated.

    Rather than focus on the negatives remember the posotive benefits of each style and experiment by employing them and assesing the results – self analysis.

    I have taught in race schools, with Government bodies and for many well known manufacturers on road and track and one thing I have learnt is to be adaptable, flexible and to adopt a gestalt approach to vehicle handling skills.

    Oh and do not forget those airbags before you decide to cross your arms LOL

  10. Tim says:

    Quick added thought the method demonstrated by Fangio is known as the Taruffi method and is a blended hybrid style that incorporates bend assesment and pre selective hand positioning with leverage and security mid bend. To relaease lock in an emergency the wheel was simply released and caught at an ideal moment – the hands off recovery method only then would opposite lock or drive be applied this helped to reduce the risk of over correction or the pendulum effect.
    I still use it on classics but not on modern machinery with ESP.

  11. Chen says:

    Shuffle steering is a generally relaible method, but it’s still not ideal:
    * You are still making several succesive movements and alternating grip. A decisive turn-in action, done is a single movement is generally better and smoother.
    * In shuffle steering, you pull and push. When you push, you are using muscles of brute strengh, with minimal sensitivity.
    * Shuffling is a relatively slow method.

    It’s better to use both hands, if nessecary than with a preperation movement, or (for most turns) pull the wheel accordingly by one hand, while the other stays stationary. The idea behind this method, which is a classic technique for rally driving, is to locate the pulling arm on the rim, before the turn-in, so that when you turn, you are pulling just enough to get the car to turn, and also the hand goes back to where it started, so you can keep holding the wheel in 9 and 3 while cornering.

  12. Xadus says:

    Perhaps if we never had motorized vehicles to begin with, we wouldn’t be so fat, we wouldn’t have accidents and people would probably be a little bit better off walking and strengthening themselves physically. So far, almost everything artificial in this world causes probems; from bleached sugar, bleached rice, artificial sweetners, motorized vehicles(pollution of the atmosphere), and most of all, conflict between ourselves because we can’t be responsible for our actions. Just reading the comments above gives me another example of how we are and how we treat eachother. So overall, if we didn’t have these vehicles, there would be no controversy over how to drive correctly, no stress about getting a license(putting many people down who are incapable) , no hate amongst who has a better car, and definitely none of the slanderous comments above.

  13. MX5 NB8A owner says:

    Err, this is ridiculous, we do not ‘adapt’ into something because it is the ‘bad’ or ‘crappy’ or even ‘lazy’ way of doing it, if it works right. After all, ‘perfected’, or rather to say… ‘professional techniques’, were not honed because some idiot said ‘its meant to be done this way’. You’d never make a Tiger Woods if you stuck to some basic shit that was never meant for your body.

    Anyway…

    Personally, I steer primarily with overhand grips + fixed grip input. If you drive an MX5 with the incredible 6 speed superb gear ratio gearbox, you’re going to shift non-stop just to rev it right. There’s no way in hell you’re going to shuffle unless you’re driving auto, which means you’re most probably not interested in driving, and shouldn’t comment on other different steering styles already, its like telling professional he’s doing his work wrong, when the method he uses is indeed intended only for ‘professional’ use. And even amateurs will tell you that its the right way, and whatever noobish methods you’re using and think is right… is actually wrong, but ‘forces you into safer ‘methods’ of operation’… aka.. driving slower, using brakes non-stop, not rev-matching, clutch dropping (gosh i hate clutch dropping, zomgz), and of course, driving automatic, with parking assist, etc etc… and using cheap crappy octane 88 gas because you don’t givadamn about the engine spewing blood (or because you don’t care about engine power).

    If you’re driving a ‘proper’ ‘car’, and you shuffle steer, it just means you’re using that car to ‘get you from 1 place to another’, which means, its better if you took public transport. Just because you’ve never had a driving accident doesn’t mean you haven’t nearly been in one, or that you haven’t been one key factor in their causes.

    Afterall, many driving instructors treat their students as if they were idiots… but I was a natural, and mine praised my steering skill as being ‘exceptional’, pity he wasn’t too impressed when he found out that I had actually been driving without a license, hence being already adept at driving and not actually needing any more lessons.

    But naturally, if you suck at driving, your instructor will insist on ‘pull-push shuffle’, because if you got into an accident, and he told you otherwise, he’d have to answer for it.

    If you want to stick with shuffle steering, by all means, please do so… but please be considerate and quit driving as soon as you can. Just because you like to go at 3km/hr at a left turn doesn’t mean that other drivers would be expecting you to do that, nor does the blarring of their horns mean that they much appreciate it.

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