If you’ve been in the market for a new car lately, you may have noticed that many of the new models come with steering wheels that are flat on the bottom. At first glance, it may not seem like there is a reason for this design, but as it turns out, there is a very science-based reason behind it! In this article, we will explore the history and science behind this new design trend in steering wheels. We’ll also take a look at some of the benefits that come with it!
History of the steering wheel
Steering wheels have been around since the 1500s, They were first used in horse-drawn carriages to help the driver control the direction of the carriage. In those days, steering wheels were made out of wood and were very large and bulky.
Over time, steering wheel design gradually evolved. By the early 1900s, steering wheels had begun to resemble the ones we use today. They were still made out of wood, but they were smaller and had a more rounded shape.
The first plastic steering wheel was invented in the 1950s. It was made out of fiberglass and it had a very round, smooth design.
In the 1970s, the first rubberized steering wheel was invented. This steering wheel was made out of foam rubber and it had a more ergonomic design.
The modern steering wheel
Today, most steering wheels are made out of plastic or rubber. They are usually covered in leather or cloth and they have a variety of different designs. Many steering wheels also have buttons and controls on them for things like the radio, cruise control, and phone calls.
One of the newest trends in steering wheel design is the flat-bottom steering wheel. This type of steering wheel has been around for a few years now, but it has become more popular in recent years.
So why are new steering wheels being designed with a flat bottom?
The science behind the design
In 2006, Ford introduced a new steering wheel design that was flat on the bottom. This design quickly gained popularity, and within a few years, many other car manufacturers had followed suit. So, what’s behind this new design?
According to experts, the main reason for the change is due to airbags. In a collision, an airbag deploys from the center of the steering wheel and expands quickly to cushion the driver’s head.
If the steering wheel is round, the airbag has to expand in a circular shape, which can be less effective. However, if the steering wheel is flat on the bottom, the airbag can expand in a more rectangular shape, which provides more protection for the driver.
Again, When a car is in motion, the steering wheel vibrates. This is because the wheels of the car are constantly hitting bumps in the road. These vibrations can cause the driver’s hands to become fatigued and even numb over time.
A flat-bottom steering wheel helps to reduce these vibrations. Having a flat surface on the bottom gives the driver’s hands a more stable surface to grip onto. This reduces the amount of vibration that is transmitted to the driver’s hands and allows them to stay in control of the car for longer periods.
Benefits of using the flat-bottom steering wheel
There are also a few other benefits that come with a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
1. Easier grip
One of the first reasons why you should use a flat-bottom steering wheel is simply because it is easier to grip, This type of steering wheel will not rotate in your hand as easily when you are trying to turn the wheel, and makes driving so easy and fun.
I remember the very first time I got behind the wheel of a car with this type of steering wheel, and it definitely took some getting used to. However, after a few minutes of driving, I could tell that it was much easier to keep my hands in the proper position on the wheel. I enjoyed the improved grip that it provided.
2. Eliminates blind spots
Another benefit of a flat-bottom steering wheel is that it eliminates blind spots. When you are driving, your hands should be at the nine and three positions on the wheel. If the wheel is round, this will not be possible because your hands will be too close to the edge of the wheel. However, with a flat-bottom steering wheel, your hands will be in the correct positions and you won’t have any blind spots because these flat-bottom steering wheels are specially designed to keep your hands in the proper position.
3. More legroom
Do you ever drive your old car with a rounded steering wheel and feel like there is not enough space to move your legs? Well, Unlike the round steering wheel, the flat-bottom steering wheel gives you more legroom.
This is especially beneficial for you if you are tall and you always have a hard time finding a comfortable driving position. With a flat-bottom steering wheel, you will not have to worry about this anymore because you will have more legroom.
4. Less vibration
Flat bottom steering wheels help to reduce the amount of vibration that is transmitted to the driver’s hands. This type of steering wheel is designed to have a more stable surface, which helps to reduce the amount of vibration that is felt by the driver.
Vibrations can cause the driver’s hands to become fatigued and even numb over time, but with a flat-bottom steering wheel, you will not have to worry about this anymore.
5. Looks more stylish
Again, some people find that flat-bottomed steering wheels look more modern and stylish. All modern cars come with this type of steering wheel, and it gives the car a more luxurious feel.
If you are someone who likes to look cool and stay on trend, then this type of steering wheel is definitely for you!
6. Better control
A flat-bottom steering wheel gives you better control over your car. When you are turning the wheel, it is easier to keep it in the desired position when the bottom is flat. This can help you avoid overcompensating and making sudden turns that could lead to an accident. Have you noticed when using your round steering wheel how it seems to want to spin out of control sometimes? With a flat-bottom steering wheel, this will not be an issue.
Finally, using a flat-bottom steering wheel protects in the event of an accident. As we mentioned before, the airbag will deploy more effectively to protect your head and upper body. Additionally, the flat bottom of the steering wheel can help prevent your legs from being thrown forward in a collision and this can help protect you from serious injuries.
As you can see, there are many reasons why new steering wheels are flat on the bottom. From airbags to blind spots, the science behind the design is very sound! If you are in the market for a new car, be sure to consider a model with a flat-bottom steering wheel. It may just make your driving experience that much better!
So, there you have it! The next time you see a flat-bottomed steering wheel, you’ll know that there’s a good reason for it!
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