For a long time there was only one European regulation governing the accident-behavior of motor cars. In a precisely defined crash-test, the steering wheel (steering column) was only allowed to intrude a certain distance into the passenger area. By this, one can see, just how much of a role this played as a cause of injury.
Only old-timers have a straight, one-piece steering column from the steering wheel to the steering gear. Todays vehicle-steering columns can be divided into three categories:- space-frame tubing- or corrugated tubing (see above figure),- detachable connection,- deflectable through joints (see above figure).Of all these possibilities, the latter has largely asserted itself. This is due to the frequent use of rack-and-pinion steering systems, which have the connection to the steering column mostly in the middle. If the small cog on the gear shaft is straight-cut and not diagonal, the steering wheel can be more easily mounted on the right-hand side of the vehicle (right-hand drive e.g. for Great Britain).One feature of the accident-proof, deflectable steering column is the adjustment possibility. In the beginning, the steering wheel could only be moved up- or downwards, in the meantime however, through a geared telescopic spline-shaft, the steering wheel can be moved towards, or away from the driver. This can also be seen as an additional accident-safety feature. 05/10