How to hold the gear lever
Police driving schools have taught the thumb up/thumb down technique sometimes referred to as the “Palming or cupping method” for decades.
You won’t find it in Roadcraft the book, (its one several basic techniques that are taught by Instructors directly), however it is demonstrated in the 1996 Roadcraft DVD.
The main purpose is to enable precise gear changes and again minimise incorrect gear selection, or your hand slipping off the gear lever etc.
I firmly believe this method is best practice.
The DVSA don’t hold an opinion one way or the other as far as I can tell, the IAM covered the technique in “How to be a better driver” but have since dropped it and never really marked for it anyway.
RoSPA do instruct for it and it’s in the test guidelines “The Examiner will look for how you hold the gear lever to assist with positive location of the desired gear” but I’ve never a seen a candidate denied Gold solely because of the Gear Stick Hold
So what is it?
Simply for selecting first or second gear thumb goes down as in the first photo and the palm points away:
This encourages the driver to push away against the natural ‘bias’ of the gear stick (In neutral it rests between 3rd and 4th gear) to ensure accurate gear selection and
“Thumb up” for 3rd,4th and 5th (and 6th) as shown in the second photo.