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I need an expression to be a simile to gripping the wheel of a car tightly.

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    Welcome to English Language & Usage! Unfortunately this question is not really a good fit for our Q&A format, where we are looking for questions which have an at least more-or-less correct answer. Since this is really writing advice where you pick the one you like best, it's not the sort of question we encourage, and as such is likely to be closed. Please read english.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask and english.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask for details of our general question policies. – Hellion Sep 28 '14 at 0:14
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Try; Hold on for dear life; 'He grasped the wheel and hung on for dear life' or 'He held onto the wheel as if his life depended on it.'

'He held the wheel like a vice'

'He was gripping the wheel so tightly his knuckles shone white'

'He gripped the wheel so tightly, they would have to pry his fingers off with a crowbar'

Hope this helps.

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    Driving on bad roads with cliffs to the left, seething sea to the right, and lightning coming down in sheets, I hold the wheel in a death grip. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_grip – Wayfaring Stranger Sep 28 '14 at 3:03
  • @Wayfaring Stranger - sounds like an answer – Christopher Sep 28 '14 at 13:22
  • seemed to me you already had the gist of it. – Wayfaring Stranger Sep 28 '14 at 13:41
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How about:

Gripping the wheel as if you are on a roller coaster?

For a fauna alternative (mind you, it is somewhat contrived):

...like a boa constrictor chocking its prey.

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"I was clutching the steering wheel like my whole life depended on it"

You could also say something like: "I was gripping the wheel tightly like I was hanging from a cliff (with my bare hands)"

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