You Might Be Holding Your Steering Wheel All Wrong

iStock.com/stevanovicigor
iStock.com/stevanovicigor

Even if some knowledge (like how to parallel park) has faded since you last took driver's ed, this tidbit may have stuck: When holding a steering wheel, your hands are supposed to be at the 10 and 2 positions, as on a clock. This placement gives you the most control if you need to turn your car suddenly, and was therefore considered the safest for years. But if you've taken a driving course recently, you may have heard something completely different. Thanks to changes in air bag design, 9 and 3 is now the recommended hand position.

Placing your hands higher up on the steering wheel gives you a better grip, but it also places your arms directly in the path of the airbag should it go off. As the airbag inflates upwards, it could potentially thrust your hands toward your face and break your nose or cause a head injury. The chemical reaction that triggers the airbag also presents a safety hazard. When a car senses a crash, a flash of nitrogen gas deploys the airbag, cushioning the driver's head and upper body in case they fling forward—but if their hands are too close to the airbag when it opens, the super-hot chemicals may cause additional harm.

The solution to these risks, according to the AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [PDF], is to simply move your hands lower down the wheel. Holding the steering wheel at opposite sides—9 and 3—gives you sufficient leverage while keeping your arms out of the way of the steering wheel column and the airbag inside it. Some experts even recommended placing your hands even lower, at 8 and 4, to minimize the chance of injury as much as possible.

Steering guidelines may have evolved, but other safety tips—like keeping your headlights on in bad weather and maintaining a safe distance from other cars—are just as useful today as they were decades ago. Here are some more tips to keep in mind when driving during the winter months.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]