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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cross Shifting: A new driving technique to free up your right hand.

SteeringImage by Paul Moons via FlickrSo I'm driving down the road, and I've got a tasty snapple in my hand and my cup holder is chock full of yesterday's snapple bottle, but I've got to shift from first to second gear. How do I do it?

I've perfected a technique that comes in very handy for this scenario:

  1. Steering with your left hand, position your hand so that it is somewhere between 3 & 6 o'clock on the wheel.
  2. Release your grip from the wheel, but keep the back of your forearm against the wheel. You'll now be steering using friction between your forearm / elbow and the steering wheel.
  3. Slide your arm against the wheel and reach down to the shift knob to change gears.
This technique requires a bit of coordination and focus. I find that shifting from first to second is the easiest, because it is the closest move to the steering wheel, but that all other gears are reachable, at least in my '04 Honda Civic. This may be difficult for some at first, but with practice it can be fine tuned and actually obtain a good level of comfort. I have used this many times when I'm also making a fairly sharp turn.

C.Y.A. NOTE: The above is not actually recommended, for safety and liability reasons. Try this exercise at your own risk.
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