Music fans everywhere know the term Detroit Leaning when driving, but what is it and is it actually a Detroit thing at all?

The best known lyric is from the Pretenders 'Brass in Pocket' in which Chrissie Hynde sings about 'been driving...Detroit leaning.'

The style of the Detroit lean is to have one hand on the wheel and your body leaned way...waaaay back in the seat or to the side. In such a relaxed pose that nothing more than your head may be visible outside of the car.

So is it a Detroit thing or did the posture just take the name of the World's Motor Capital?

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A letter to the Los Angeles Times from 1994 hints that the Detroit Lean is actually an Ohio thing - which makes sense to have the Canton-born and raised Chrissie Hynde include the lyric in a song. The letter to the editor, written in response to a column about disrespectful driving habits shares:

When I learned to drive in Ohio in 1972-’73, it was called the “Detroit Lean” and we saw it often....

...[T]he message The Lean is sending: This is a driver who thinks he’s cool and who doesn’t care about anyone or anything in his way.

I haven’t seen it much lately--maybe because you can’t do it with a shoulder restraint buckled up.

READ MORE: The New Detroit Sign is Green for a Surprising but Very Logical Reason

It wouldn't be surprising to have the Detroit Lean actually be an Ohio thing. After all, Ohio, particularly the Cleveland-Akron-Canton region, has some odd road and driving vernacular that is all their own like a 'devil strip' for the grassy area between the street and sidewalk.

Detroit for its part, certainly takes some ownership of the driving posture that bears its name. But as one commenter on this message board points out, it's only really thing if it's drawn out as a 'Deeee-troit Lean.'

It should be noted, of course, that the Detroit Lean may not be the safest way to drive. 10-and-2 and upright at all times, eh?

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