Top of the wheel was always what my dad did when he was too tired to keep
driving but too proud to let mom take over. 

I was taught what I think you're calling push-pull by one of the car test
jockeys for a non-car magazine, probably Tom McCahill of Mechanic's Illustrated.
I picked it up shortly before I started driver's education, my teachers, if they
noticed, never mentioned it. 
Back then I did it because it was supposed to be more secure than letting go of
the wheel with one hand and crossing your arms over each other. 
Bring both hands to the top of the wheel, grasping the wheel in one hand and
sliding the wheel through the other, then grasp with the other hand and bring
both hands towards the bottom.
 
I'm pretty sure they taught me 10 and 2 o'clock in driver's ed, but in cockpit
videos you usually see race drivers at 9 and 3. 
About 25 years ago I read a gripe in Autoweek from a reader who got hit backing
out of a parking spot. He claimed he was holding the top of the wheel in his
left hand while turning his body to look out the back windscreen when the bad
deployed, breaking his arm in multiple places. 
Air bags are weaker now, back then they were required to restrain unbelted
driver/dummies in crash tests. 
Mitch.

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