A Conversation for Advanced Driving Techniques

Shuffle Steering

Post 1

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

They taught us shuffle stearing in Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) in service training. I've never been to the formal course at the academy. I've learned on the job and from these inservice course.

Shuffle steering is when you hold your hands at the 9 and 3 positions, or even a little bit lower. When you alter your course, you move your hands as little as possible. They never ever go up as high as the 10 and 2 position. When you're ready to straghten out, you let the wheel slide back to center.

This keeps turns from being really sharp. You can turn just as quickly, but you retain much more control over the car. It's much harder to lose traction this way.

Shuffle Steering

Post 2

Captain Kebab

Standard practice for the British driving test, Advanced Driving test, and, the last time I looked, Police Class 1 test (the test British pursuit officers take) is to hold the wheel at either 9 and 3 or 10 and 2 (or any point between), and to use a variation on the shuffle - both hands reach up to 12 o'clock, the hand on the side to which you are turning then grips and pulls the wheel down on that side, whilst the opposite hand slides down the other side. When both hands reach 6 o'clock, the opposite hand takes over and pushes the wheel up whilst the 'original' hand slides up. This continues until sufficient lock is applied, and the lock is removed by reversing the process.

There is some debate at the moment as to whether holding the wheel lower, at around 4 and 8, or even 5 and 7, is better, and also whether crossing the hands should be permitted - it was always seen as a big no-no. The original Police Driving Manual on which all this is based was introduced, I think, in 1934, and this aspect has never been re-addressed. I have only once driven a pre-war car (a 1932 Singer Junior) but my daily driver is a car (built in 1970) that was designed in 1948, and the steering and suspension design was never updated. Modern cars handle somewhat differently - steering is much lighter with power assistance, and usually higher geared, and of course modern cars can corner safely very much faster.

Shuffle Steering

Post 3


Shuffle steering is actually a very bad practice.

9 to 3 is the correct position to set your hands on the steering wheel. This enables you to feel when the wheels are straight or otherwise. Instead of shuffling the wheel around, you need to look ahead and modify your hand position, still keeping it at 9 to 3. For very slight curves you will never even need to move your hands. It is only for tighter corners and hairpins that you may need to prepare your hand position by thinking about the corner before you get to it, and moving your hands to corresponding positions to enable turning the wheel and straightening out with barely moving your hands.

Before you argue in the defense of shuffle steering, consider that you can control your vehicle much more effectively in an emergency situation (a sudden patch of oil on the road, for example) or when you have a series of tight corners.

You want to aim to be able to feel when the wheels are straight at all times and to provide extremely smooth driving inputs so as to minimise the loss of traction. You can let the wheel slip back. Absolutely. However gradually easing the wheel back whilst maintaining good hand position is far better. Not only do you have constant contact with the wheel, you know when the wheels are straight or not.

For the record, I am a defensive and advanced driving instructor and compete professionally in rally, circuit and drift racing. In all of these sports, complete car control is necessary. In everyday driving through to drifting, you aim for your driving to be controlled and smooth. Shuffle steering is an inhibitor to this. Sorry.

Keep your hands 9 to 3, look ahead, assess and prepare your hand position at all times for what is ahead, keep all inputs smooth and you will control the car better.

Shuffle Steering

Post 4


it has to be said that, though shuffle steering is safer and more in-control, the average driver doesn't use this technique (correct me if i'm wrong). I've found that most drivers adopt a more relaxed technique, one hand on the wheel is a good one, especially as it allows one to change gear and corner. I know its not the proper way, but its the way it is for most drivers.

Shuffle Steering

Post 5


The problem with 'shuffling the steering'' is, if the right foot is moving the vehicle faster than the hands can shuffle.

To compensate for the ack of resistance power steering provides, [and thus, the tendency to steer abruptly at speed] the drive needs to input more control, or smoothness, into the way the steering wheel is turned.

In my experience, it is always best to commence a steering movement with a ''downpull''...or a ''pull'' towards oneself.

Pushing ''away'' will always be more violent in its action.

The '10-to-2''position does allow for a greater pull with less effort, before the hands change grip.

I would never advocate allowing the wheel to 'spin back'.....this removes control over the manner in which the wheel centres up, away from the driver, relying , at best. upon a series of geometric and mechanical variables beyonf belief.

What if, the steering wheel doesn't centre up, or in hte manner one desires?

What then?

The vehicle has, effectively. gone for a short distance in an undesired direction.

In my book, anything a vehicle does, which is not exactly as the driver intended, [no matter how momentary], is a 'loss of control'.

A description I heard recently aptly describes that moment.....as the time when the 'driver becomes a passenger in their own vehicle'.

Shuffle Steering

Post 6


the way a steering wheel goes back to the centre line is natural, its not like its on a spring, the cars forwards motion pulls the wheels back in line, so its highly unlikely that the wheel wouldn't centre properly.

That said though, I also wouldn't let go of the wheel and let it spin, especially seeing as my hand has, more often than not, travelled with the wheel, so its already in a position to pull it back.

Andy smiley - smiley

Shuffle Steering

Post 7


Are we talking purely new, well-maintaned cars here...or just any vehicle, non-specific?

Because any number of minor defects can reduce or increase the castor effect on the steering wheels.

Not the least, camber and ruts [often found where the road has been 'pounded' by LGV wheels].

Personally I prefer to control the movement of the steering wheel, and not rely on the mechanics of the vehicle...in the same way,I place little faith in the ability of power steering to do what it is supposed to do....I've had more than enough [new, never mind time-worn] Power steering systems fail, often at ackward moments.

Too many pipes, joints suspect fluid levels , pump failures, etc...to go wrong.

''the way a steering wheel goes back to the centre line is natural, its not like its on a spring,''

One point not mentioned regarding using castor action to centre the steering wheels is, if not controlled properly, the centering action can be violent, leading to a vehicle wobble as the wheels come straight.

The smooth reduction of steering lock when exiting a bend ensures less stress on the tyres, and less likleyhood of instability happening...and more chance of following one's intended line.

Shuffle Steering

Post 8


well at least there's now no doubt to anyone reading this that letting go of the wheel is bad.

point proved, what's next! smiley - smiley

Shuffle Steering

Post 9


Shuffle steering is good for low speed handling when you speed up 10-2 hand position on the wheel alows better control and feel,pulling the wheel down with one hand while conrolling the movement with the other allows smoother driving,biggest mistake people make is to saw the steering wheel when cornering leads to traction brake up tyre wear and unstable cornering.If you are steering smoothly you have a lot more control.The problem today modern cars perform very well corner well making the driver a bit complacent,so when a situation arises the car is going to fast hence accidentsmiley - wah

Shuffle Steering

Post 10


Shuffling the wheel.. I thought that had gone out of fashion with the Dinosaurs! I'm not surprised they still teach police drivers to do it, the last time I checked they were still taught to lift and brake when a FWD car slides!!
I can hardly think of a situation on the road where you'd need to use any more than the 180 degrees available to you by keeping you hands at 9 - 3.
Advanced driving techniques... are you kidding? how about some left foot braking, or some FWD / RWD lessons, vision exercies or cadence braking. Pffftt.

Shuffle Steering

Post 11


what is needed is a definition of what ''advanced driving'' really is all about?

As far as I've been able to tell, from what has been posted on various forums, and listening to bar talk, most people with a licence think it's all about enabling someone to go faster.

There seems to be much misunderstanding between instructor and student, over how to use improved driving skills.

There is constant reference to Police driver training......which, at the higher levels is specialised, aimed at high[er] speed driving in difficult conditions...therefore, much is irrelevant to a motorist who does not plan to flout the law, or who simply does not wish to drive fast....for whatever reason.

The same can be said of driver training for 'close protection security'...no way would I want to be involved with that...I simply have so little faith in the driving abilities of others....plus, I have never had the intention of being a 'team player'...except by accident!

Acquiring a PCV or LGV licence could also be described as 'advanced driving', since the student has to become more 'aware' of problems that affect them, given the size of the vehicle.

Yet, with all the 'onward' driver training to be found out there, once completed, there is very little to prevent the individual from casting all learning to the winds......which is just the case with basic licence acquisition.

Indeed, it could be said, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing??

Take 'shuffling the steering?'

By that, I take the technique to be the equivalent to what I might describe as 'rotating the dinner plate?'

Or, is it the technique of rapidly trying to turn the steering wheel with short shuffles? [which really is no good as a steering technique]

What many people forget is, techniques taught in driving establishments have been rigorously risk-assessed...to use a modern idiom.

What is forgotten is, a safe driving technique isn't about the 99 times out of 100 when nothing goes amiss.....it's about the 1 time out of 100 when something DOES go wrong.

Drivers no longer ask themselves ''what if...????''

Sound driving techniques are all about reduction of risk.

Anything else is about extending that risk....fine if it is only to oneself...but that rarely, if ever is the case.

Shuffle Steering

Post 12

Gnomon - time to move on

Well, I thought the most important "advanced technique" was improved road safety, and that is what most of this Entry is about: safety both for other people on the roads and for the driver.

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