Things I didn't know, but yeah, I should have learned somehow.
July 29, 2017 10:01 AM   Subscribe

I just learned from my teenager that I've been driving in an "outdated" manner, and this annoys me. Allegedly, the old 10-and-2 hand positions for car steering wheels are unsafe, and I should be holding the wheel lower, at other partitions of the number 12 (e.g. 8-and-4 or 9-and-3). So, just how should I have learned this, and what else am I doing wrong at my age?

After the explanation was given, it was obvious why 10-and-2 is not safe -- explosive device in steering wheel, hands fly back and hit your face, something about "degloving". I'm equal parts annoyed that I didn't think of this first, and that I was not somehow, like in bold print on orange paper my auto insurance statement, informed of this.
  1. Is this a well-known fact, and maybe I just don't pay attention?
  2. For something that impacts almost everyone (drivers or passengers), and is a legit Thing To KnowTM, how do people learn this stuff? Should I be clicking on those listicles for "Oh dang, you're an Xennial? Here's stuff you need to know!"
  3. Bigger question: What other, obvious-if-you-think-about-it stuff might I be happily ignorant of at age 40? Has technology changed in some other ways that might, you know, make my own hand hit my face and knock out my teeth? Please tell me of the dangers.
posted by klausman to Grab Bag (54 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Has technology changed in some other ways that might, you know, make my own hand hit my face and knock out my teeth?

Well, your teeth will probably be ok, but. Old wisdom on cell phone batteries was you should plug them in as little as possible--charge them all the way full, run them all the way til they die, repeat--to extend the life of the battery. But modern smartphone batteries aren't built like that. The optimal holding charge is somewhere in the 40%-80% range, and the batteries benefit from short duration slow charges throughout the day. Leaving it plugged in past 90% and/or topping the battery off actually shortens the life of the battery over time.

This information was the basis of the Great Phunniemee Family Non-Political Argument of Christmas '15.
posted by phunniemee at 10:26 AM on July 29 [25 favorites]


I was attacked by an airbag once. It didn't cause me to punch myself and my glasses were fine.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:26 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


The 9-and-3 suggestion is from only the last few years, and hasn't really been publicized, I think.

This isn't technology, but a socio-cultural thing: both my sister and I just recently learned that it is now only good luck to find a penny that's heads side up. My niece was like, yeah everybody knows that. My mother said, oh, I found a penny yesterday in my chiropractor's office and [insert very long story here].

Anyhow, if you find a penny and it's tails-side-up, turn it over and leave it for the next person to come along.
posted by Guy Smiley at 10:43 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


This frankly seems like... not that big of a deal. It's a pretty small optimization in the scheme of things; if you were previously saying "10 and 2 are the only acceptable options" then it's a good prod for you to be a bit more flexible. Reading the PDF from the link in the Snopes article (as contrasted with the email they're excerpting) it looks
posted by Lady Li at 10:54 AM on July 29


I'm a bit older than you, and I had not heard about the 10-and-2 thing. But I think the reason that the news of this has not been spread far and wide is that it's not really that big a deal. This post led me to do some casual reading on airbag injuries, and it turns out there are plenty of them to be had even without your arms in the equation. If the 10-and-2 position were solely responsible for airbag injuries, I'm sure this would be big news; but it turns out an explosion going off in your face is always going to have some problems associated with it. Arm injuries are just part and parcel of it.
posted by ejs at 10:56 AM on July 29


Oops, hit tab-enter by accident. To continue, it looks like they've modified the recommendation for "most efficient way to drive" to reflect changes in car technology, but the core principles are always going to be the important thing: don't have things between the airbag and yourself, and keep your hands in a balanced position on the wheel so that you have good control and quick reaction times.

Probably the main recommendation I would give is to take a first-aid class. There are a number of outdated things people "know" that are actually harmful (treating burns, in particular) and it's an area that would be important to get right in your daily life.

There are probably also driver safety classes or tips you could take to get up on the latest - how to react after an accident or in case of a flat to reduce your risk of being hit by a passing car, things like that. I'd pursue information by category, personally.
posted by Lady Li at 10:59 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


I was taught 8-and-4 in drivers ed circa 2000. Plenty of people my age (early 30s) drive 10-and-2 though.

The thing you can do that will have the biggest impact in terms of saving a life would be to become certified, and maintain certification, in CPR. More than 350,000 people in the US suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in 2016; CPR was attempted on fewer than half, and bystander CPR doubled the survival rate. There is a lot of misinformation and "common knowledge" about CPR that is just plain wrong, and it's worth taking an afternoon to learn how to do it the right way. New CPR guidelines came out a couple years ago and are updated every 5 years, so it's something to always keep current!
posted by basalganglia at 11:16 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


--Lay babies on their backs to sleep, not their tummies. The "Back to Sleep" advice has helped to dramatically reduce the number of SIDS deaths.
-- it's jiggle and jab with the toothbrush, not "down from above and up from below" as I was taught in third grade
--slavery was the root cause of the Civil War, not just "economic factors and states rights issues" as I was taught in 12th grade
posted by SLC Mom at 11:19 AM on July 29 [22 favorites]


Also with teeth, I was taught as a kid to scrub and scrub and scrub with the brush, and the harder the better, and now I'm told that's VERY bad for your gums and to use a supersoft brush and be very gentle.

I heard the penny heads-up thing more than 40 years ago, so it ain't new. There are just different versions of the superstition out there.
posted by JanetLand at 11:44 AM on July 29 [7 favorites]




Yeah, they're teaching the 9-and-3 hand position in driving classes now, as opposed to the old 10-and-2; nobody advocates 8-and-4 except idiots who think it's cool.

The reason for the switch to 9-and-3 is all about airbags, but it's not about your hands smacking you in the face: it's about getting your hands and wrists out of the danger zone. In a crash, the airbag's explosive power will be at its strongest just as the airbags leave the steering wheel, and it turns out that having your hands at 10-and-2 puts you at risk of major wrist and hand damage and bones breaking. So moving your hands to 9-and-3 moves your hands and wrists to the side, where they're at less risk. (The strength of that initial airbag blast is also why you are supposed to sit with your head and torso at least a foot back from the wheel.)
posted by easily confused at 12:24 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Yeah the current advice is to stretch after you exercise, though that's not as strong a recommendation.

I was taught 10-2 when I first learned to drive but later on in life was taught 9-3, but for performance and not safety reasons. The thinking is that at 9-3 you have the maximum turning radius before you have to reposition your hands on the wheel--better for fast response on the track (or emergency maneuvers on the street).
posted by danny the boy at 12:47 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


If it makes you feel better, I (a fellow late Gen X person), who was taught 10-and-2 in the 90s, was very surprised to be instructed about 9-and-3: I learned it from my new car's manual a few years ago (which, yes, I read ll of, being that sort of person). It also told me NOT to let the car warm up before driving it, even when it's cold, because it's bad for the earth and won't actually damage the car, which also went against what I'd been taught.
posted by lysimache at 12:51 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


I've known about the nine-and-three instead of ten-and-two thing for several years, and even enlisted my son to nag me about it when I drive the old way, but I can't seem to shake it. The way both my parents and my driver's ed instructor taught me is somehow very deeply engrained. Maybe if I put some stickers on the steering wheel as a reminder it will help....
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 1:28 PM on July 29


Pluto is no longer classified as a planet.
posted by speakeasy at 1:39 PM on July 29 [5 favorites]


I stopped leaving voice mails about a year ago. My kids taught me that anyone under the age of say 40 will not even listen to them. Just call and hang up if no answer. They will see the missed call and decide to call back or not. Or text them to call you back.
posted by AugustWest at 1:44 PM on July 29 [37 favorites]


https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2017/02/21/pluto-have-last-laugh-nasa-scientists-wants-make-pluto-planet-again/98187922/
posted by TheCavorter at 1:45 PM on July 29 [6 favorites]


ha
my bad! yay for pluto!!
posted by speakeasy at 2:02 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


If you have a newer dishwasher, you should NOT rinse the dishes for optimal cleaning, but you should use a rinse aid.
posted by Diagonalize at 2:09 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


This isn't yet conventional wisdom but it probably will be, so you can get ahead of the curve:
The Dutch Reach: 1 in 5 bike accidents come from people opening the door of their parked car into the bike lane. When exiting the car, if you reach across your body and open the door with your right hand (instead of your left), you will naturally turn your body enough to notice approaching cyclists and thereby avoid clobbering them with your car door. (Thank you 99% Invisible)
posted by metahawk at 2:38 PM on July 29 [17 favorites]


Please for the love of god stop putting two spaces after a period
posted by Violet Hour at 2:42 PM on July 29 [57 favorites]


I learned 10-2 in school in the 80s, and learned 8-4 about 10 years ago when I got a fancier car and people on the webboards for it mentioned doing so. It makes sense to me, though I don't pay much attention to what my muscle memory is doing when I'm driving.
posted by rhizome at 3:03 PM on July 29


I learned 10 and 2 in the mid-90s, but today in OR/WA they're telling student drivers 9-3.

I'm sorry, but I just don't have as good control of the steering wheel that way - it's too easy to hit a bump and have the wheel jerk. My odds of being safe - and keeping my passengers safe - make a good grip on the wheel MUCH more important, IMO. (8-4 is even worse.)

That said, I'm only 5'2". Supposedly I'm short enough I'm not safe in either front seat, anyway - so maybe they should make cars that are safe for ALL heights to drive, not just tall people?
posted by stormyteal at 3:26 PM on July 29 [5 favorites]


And when did it become required to have the headlights on when the wipers are on.
posted by SemiSalt at 3:52 PM on July 29


When your lane is ending (e.g. "Right Lane Closed 1/2 mile") you shouldn't merge right away, you should continue as far as you can and then merge. Zipper merging increases traffic flow and reduces accidents.
posted by AFABulous at 3:56 PM on July 29 [14 favorites]


Paraffin tops, the inversion method, home-made garlic-infused oil, and waterbath canning of non-pickled green beans are no longer considered safe. Update your recipes or methods. Also, tomatoes are now known to range in pH enough that the new policy is that you must acidify them for canning where previously you wouldn't have.
posted by blnkfrnk at 4:14 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


Starch is now notably bad for your teeth, just as sugar has always been.
posted by kmennie at 4:16 PM on July 29


Continually stripping your complexion of oil (as I was taught to do in the 80s and early 90s) does not make it less oily.

Low-fat high-carb diets are no longer the jam in diet/weight loss circles. I have older coworkers who think fat-free packaged cookies are healthy.

Rubbing alcohol is no longer recommended for new piercings. Saline washing is.
posted by kapers at 4:33 PM on July 29


Also, the roll-down-your-car-window gesture is obsolete and makes kids think you're insane.
posted by kapers at 4:35 PM on July 29 [12 favorites]


I'm wondering about some examples given above re "forget what you learned...this is the new way". E.g., putting babies to sleep on their backs was already a thing when my first was born in 1989; my grandmother's (1908-1992) generation treated burns with butter or Vaseline, but cool/cold water has been standard first aid since I (b 1954) was a teenager; and conventional wisdom among ~1980 gym rats was that one should not stretch "cold muscles". By now, I would expect that these practices have been around so long that most people have forgotten the questionable behaviors they replaced, which is clearly not the case.

Further, the above examples are different from learning that "slavery was the root cause of the Civil War, not just "economic factors and states rights issues", i.e., regardless of the shit job some school systems/teachers do re American history, it's not actually news that slavery was the root cause of the Civil War.

(Btw, not meant to disparage those who posted—it's not the first time I've seen any of these examples.)


My contribution to the discussion: BMI (body mass index) is a virtually meaningless number. Admittedly, also not really new info, e.g., the linked article is from 2009, but the number just won't die.

Finally, AugustWest, you did a good thing re spreading the word about voice mail. I would consider switching providers if someone would offer a plan that did NOT include the feature.
posted by she's not there at 4:42 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


The windshield headlights thing was around when I started driving in 2003 or 4. It's law in Louisiana though I don't think all states have that law.

CPR, infant CPR all good to know and just a few hours of your time.

Antibiotic usage use it all or use none of it nothing in between.

If you are super short, you can actually have your air bag disabled as it will likely cause more damage in a crash than the crash itself . My mom is 4'9'' and barely 100lbs (like, car seat territory these days!) And the dealership will disable the air bag upon adamant request .

Speaking of car seats if you are in a car crash the car seat needs to be replaced . Most car insurances will cover the cost of replacement.


The foods babies can and can't eat due to allergies is changing look up the most recent recommendation on peanuts , honey and other yummies.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:49 PM on July 29


Don't cover your mouth with your hand when you sneeze, instead sneeze into your elbow. If you want to make your teen / tween children hate you, holler "I'm dab sneezing!" every time.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:59 PM on July 29 [18 favorites]



I stopped leaving voice mails about a year ago. My kids taught me that anyone under the age of say 40 will not even listen to them. Just call and hang up if no answer. They will see the missed call and decide to call back or not. Or text them to call you back.



Your kids are insane. I'm very under 40, and if someone doesn't leave a message I'm both

a) absolutely not calling them back because I assume it either wasn't important or was a misdial,

and

b) super annoyed that my voicemail box is full of empty messages.


You can leave messages, really. Maybe just not for your kids?
posted by windykites at 5:23 PM on July 29 [15 favorites]


Additionally, everyone I know doesn't answer the phone if they don't recognise the number, relying on voicemail messages to identify the caller.
posted by windykites at 5:27 PM on July 29 [34 favorites]


Low-fat high-carb diets are no longer the jam in diet/weight loss circles. I have older coworkers who think fat-free packaged cookies are healthy.

Not true. There's a very strong contingent for low-fat, high-carb as long as the carbs are whole foods rather than processed. The movies Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and What the Health, which are all hot on Netflix right now, support a low-fat, high-carb diet as does Kim Williams, recently president of the American College of Cardiology. This is not the same as thinking Snackwells are healthy (which was never a thing among the health professionals who support high carb).
posted by FencingGal at 5:43 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


I work in a hospital. You should still memorize AND write down emergency contact numbers to keep on your person preferablely near your ID. Your phone is not enough, and I cannot tell you how many people in the ER can't call their loved ones because their phone is not on their person /dead/cracked screen. Or I have an unconscious person and a locked phone and can't contact anyone about them if I even know who they are.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:56 PM on July 29 [11 favorites]




When job hunting, please do not cold-call and/or show up in person and drop off a paper resume. It's no longer ok to do this to show how tenacious you are or to strong-arm your way in with HR or whatever. The best way to apply for a job is the way the company has told you to do it. And that usually means applying online. The application system is something you are supposed to follow, not outsmart.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:23 PM on July 29 [9 favorites]


Lots of people know chocolate is bad for dogs, but fewer have been told you shouldn't feed them raisins or grapes--they can lead to renal failure. And xylitol (sugar substitute) is also extremely toxic to dogs.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:28 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


> I stopped leaving voice mails about a year ago. My kids taught me that anyone under the age of say 40 will not even listen to them. Just call and hang up if no answer. They will see the missed call and decide to call back or not.

Our kids do this too. We don't call back if they didn't leave a message. And, yes, the thinking is "Must not be that important."
posted by yclipse at 1:46 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


[A couple deleted, and since it seems like it's well on the way to completely overtaking the thread, let's leave the Voice Mails, Yes or No thing at "undetermined," or "maybe fine for some and not great for others" and carry on with other answers to the main question. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 1:51 AM on July 30


The best way to clean a wound is to wash it for 20 seconds with warm water and mild soap. It's also better not to cover it with a bandaid, because that can trap bacteria. You're supposed to apply pressure until bleeding stops, and then leave it uncovered. All that goes against the "Neosporin oozing out from the sides of a bandaid" approach that we took when I was a kid.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:18 AM on July 30


OP, I'm 49, and I was taught the 9-3 position in driver ed in the summer of 1983 in a suburb of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Most cars sold then didn't have airbags. The reason we were told is that it gives better control of the steering wheel, especially in a skid.

You should ride your bike in the same direction as other traffic. As a cyclist, one thing I see far too often is people bicycling against traffic, because they were taught to do so as children. An older man once even yelled at me that I was on the wrong side as he was teaching a small child to ride a bike (against traffic, of course...). If you're afraid of not being able to see cars coming up behind you, get a rear-view mirror.
posted by brianogilvie at 11:29 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Re: dogs and grapes

This is something that has spread very widely among dog owners but the science behind it is... nonexistent. The most charitable thing I can say about it is that every article you'll find about this is based on a single source--the Animal Poison Control Center, and it always references the same statistic from them: that in 2003-2004 they had 140 cases with 50 of them developing symptoms and 7 dying. There have been no studies that confirms grapes are actually responsible, and there is no known mechanism of toxicity. The leading (well, only) theory is a mycotoxin, but that has not been found on the grapes.

I'm not saying it's ok to feed your dog grapes. I'm saying no one can tell you with any kind of authority even basic information like what a fatal dose is. I believe this is a piece of wisdom that in the future will be... updated. I mention this because I've seen people go nuts over their 80 lb lab eating a half a grape, and the resulting trauma from the freak out harms the dog more than the grape possibly could.
posted by danny the boy at 1:51 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


"ride your bike in the same direction as other traffic"

This isn't new, in fact it's the law in a lot of states, and has been for years.

My father.... my father, god bless his soul, was the sort of person who made us HATE getting books as Christmas gifts: rather than waste your time over the Christmas vacation, he would give us WRITTEN TESTS on any gift books. And when I got my first bike for Christmas, he was prepared for that, too: he'd gone to the DMV and gotten a booklet with all the bike laws, and 10-year-old me was required to study and pass his test before I was ever allowed to take that bike out from under the tree.... and every time we moved, he'd make another test. Trust me on this: riding a bike WITH not against traffic is the law, and has been so for at least half a century.
posted by easily confused at 4:31 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]


Oh-- and "let's hook up" does not mean "let's arrange a friendly visit where we chat and catch up," it now means "let's arrange a casual sex encounter" if you're under 30-ish.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:56 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


Please for the love of god stop putting two spaces after a period

This. Seems a lot of people pick up the habit in typing class, but computers aren't typewriters. More
posted by Rash at 10:17 PM on July 30


Ulcers are not caused by stress or diet. The usual culprits are a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori or excessive consumption of anti-inflammatories.

The popular Myers-Briggs personality test is pretty much meaningless. Seriously.

Leave your cuticles alone. Absolutely don't cut them and you don't need to push them back either, according to dermatologists.
posted by Athanassiel at 12:19 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


danny the boy: "I'm not saying it's ok to feed your dog grapes. I'm saying no one can tell you with any kind of authority even basic information like what a fatal dose is. I believe this is a piece of wisdom that in the future will be... updated. I mention this because I've seen people go nuts over their 80 lb lab eating a half a grape, and the resulting trauma from the freak out harms the dog more than the grape possibly could."

Anecdotally our Norwegian elk hound ends up consuming quite a few grapes every year (we have several two story grape vines) and while it gives her the runs no sign of renal failure.
posted by Mitheral at 4:05 PM on July 31


easily confused: "Trust me on this: riding a bike WITH not against traffic is the law, and has been so for at least half a century."

I know this, but trust me, there are still people out there who are teaching kids the opposite, and who are very certain that they are correct, just as there are people who think that it's illegal to cycle two abreast (which is legal now in every state except Nebraska, as far as I know, though in many states the law requires riding single-file if two abreast impedes faster traffic).
posted by brianogilvie at 1:10 PM on August 2


That's good to know about the grapes thing...our old dog ate a grape or two over the course of his life and was fine. But recently a friend's dog ate some grapes, they half remembered the grape toxicity thing and phoned the vet, who instructed them to make the dog vomit up the grapes. So...who knows. But agreed, many dogs seem to eat them and just get tummy upset or no reaction.

The xylitol thing though, that is for certain.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:05 AM on August 3


I just learned yesterday, after my forty-plus years on this earth, that it's perfectly fine to eat the skin of a kiwi fruit. All that messy peeling was for nothing!
posted by ejs at 2:20 PM on August 9


Kiwi skin is indeed edible, but the fruit tastes worse than when peeled.
posted by rhizome at 3:04 PM on August 9


Similarly feijoa (aka "pineapple guava"). Yeah, the skin is technically edible, if you have a fondness for "acrid" as a flavor noteā€¦
posted by Lexica at 5:01 PM on August 9


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