There are many names for steering wheel knobs. The proper name for them is “Brodie knobs.” But you might have heard them called “suicide knobs.” You may have also heard them called “spinner knobs.”
No matter what their name is, people seem to believe the same thing about them.
In none of the 50 states is it against the law to have a knob on the steering wheel. But some states have rules about how they can be used if their shape could be dangerous, like if it could catch on clothing.
Let’s take a closer look at why some states might not allow steering wheel knobs and what safety concerns they raise.
What States Are Steering Wheel Knobs Illegal In?
None of the 50 states has a law against steering wheel knobs. Some cities or towns might have laws against them. At the time this was written, though, we couldn’t find any proof of that.
Michigan’s state law says that they are legal, so they are legal there.
In other states, they are not against the law.
There are some rules that the state of Washington puts on them. They are against the law if they are easy to catch on your clothes. You can avoid this problem by putting the lights on the outside of the wheel.
You’ll see them a lot on tractors and other machines that move dirt. You can even find them on forklifts in a lot of business settings. They let drivers use only one hand to turn the steering wheel.
Check the laws in your area before you put one of them in. There’s a chance things are different where you live.
Why Are Steering Wheel Spinners Illegal
Despite what some people say, steering wheel knobs aren’t against the law.
According to OSHA rules, they can be used in all commercial settings. But OSHA rules are only for the workplace!
Washington is the only state that would have any rules about them. If they can stick to your clothes, they won’t let you use them.
Still, that’s probably for the best!
They are also not against the law at the federal level.
They were a lot more popular back in the day. Most cars didn’t have power steering back then, so that’s why. This could make it much easier to turn a knob.
Most cars now have power steering, so you don’t see as many knobs on the steering wheel.
If you want to use one, you can even buy one online. You can turn the wheel all the way around without having to let go of it. And you can use them pretty well with just one hand.
Why Are Steering Wheel Knobs Dangerous?
Even though they’re not against the law, steering wheel knobs could still be dangerous. If the knobs aren’t in the right place, they could catch your clothes when you turn them.
If you get one, make sure you know how to put it in!
If not, it could catch your clothes when you turn. Then it might be hard for you to turn the steering wheel. You would be in real danger if you did that.
Sit down and turn the wheel’s knob. Check that the car is in Park. Then try going all the way around with the wheel. If it doesn’t catch, you should be fine.
Knobs could also make it hard to move your hands as you turn around. But it’s not hard to stay away from that. Just remember to be careful when you make sharp turns.
Some states even make it a law that disabled drivers must have them in their cars. This is because the drivers can’t drive with both hands if they don’t have one of them.
Adding a knob to the wheel makes it much easier to turn the wheel all the way around. So, they have to have them on them in order to drive legally.
Normal drivers don’t have to use them, but that doesn’t mean they can’t. They can put them on their car without breaking the law in any way.
You’ve probably used one of these before if you’ve ever driven a forklift. They are still in a lot of work vehicles. They used to be on most cars, but not as many do now.
Power steering made it much easier to turn the wheel without holding it.
Dispelling the Myth Behind Steering Wheel Knobs
Go ahead and look up the driving laws at the federal level. There is no law that says you can’t use a steering wheel knob. In fact, some cars are required by law to have them. If you have a disability, you may need one of these to legally drive.
There isn’t much written down about state laws. The laws of the state of Michigan actually let them happen. They just have to stay away from your clothes.
If they can catch on your clothes, they are against the law in the state of Washington. If not, you’re safe to use them.
There have been knobs on steering wheels for a long time. They may not be as popular as they used to be, but they still exist.