Getting inside a car to be seated and begin driving is easy, right? Or is it? But if you have been suffering from discomfort after driving for some distance or back pain regularly, this article could be quite helpful to you. The right driving position will also help you to be in a position where you can manoeuvre the car safely and confidently. Driving with your seat and steering adjusted properly will make your ride more comfortable and safe. There are different ways you can adjust your seat, like moving it toward or away from the steering wheel, changing the incline of the backrest, and moving the headrest up and down, all depending on the size of your frame. Once your seat is adjusted for comfort and safety, make sure you’re sitting in it correctly. Below is a video you may choose to watch or continue to read on…
The preparation to be seated in the correct manner starts before you place yourself in the chair. You should avoid having any item such as a wallet or phones in your back pocket because your bottom will never be on a flat surface and will always be tilted, which will cause problems in your spine in the longer run.
Part 1: Using your seat controls
Once seated, it is important to get the seat adjusted according to your convenience.
- Slide your seat until your knees are slightly bent when you’re pressing the gas pedal. Move your seat forward if your legs are completely extended when you press the gas pedal. Move your seat back if your legs are bent too much. Keeping your knees slightly bent while you drive will prevent knee pain.
- Be seated in a way so that there’s a gap which is 2 fingers wide between the back of your knee and the seat. Place 2 fingers between the edge of your seat and the back of your knee. If you can’t fit both fingers in the gap, slide your seat back until you’re able to.
- Raise your seat up until your hips are level with your knees. Raise the seat higher if you can’t see clearly out the windshield or windows. Don’t drive with your hips lower than your knees. Don’t elevate the seat so much that there is barely any gap between your head and the roof. If you hit a speed bump or any such undulation hard while driving, your temple will come in contact with the roof.
- If your car doesn’t have allow the seat height to be adjusted, sit on a cushion to help keep your hips level with your knees. Make sure you’re not elevated too much or you’ll have to bend down to look out through the windshield and windows.
- Adjust the backrest so that it’s reclined at a 100-degree angle. This will decrease the pressure on your lower back when you’re seated inside for longer durations.
- If your shoulders lift from the backrest when you turn the steering wheel, your seat is reclined too much. Move the backrest up more if you are hunched forward when driving. When the backrest is in the proper position, you should easily be able to reach the wheel, and your elbows should be slightly bent.
- Move the headrest so that the back of your head is centred in the middle. If your head is above the headrest when you’re sitting in your seat, move the headrest up. If the back of your head is exposed below the headrest, move the headrest down. Ideally, the top of your head should be level with the top of the headrest.
- Adjust the lumbar support so it fits in the curve of your lower back. The lumbar support is the raised portion of the lower backrest. First, adjust the height of the lumbar support so the bottom edge is level with your waistline. Then adjust the depth of the support so it completely fills in the curve of your lower back.
- If your seat doesn’t have lumbar support, roll up a towel and put it in the curve of your back while you’re driving.
- You can also buy attachable foam support to use as a lumbar support if your car seat doesn’t have it.
Part 2: The Right Position
- Sit with your body all the way back in your seat. Your back should be pressed against the backrest, and your bottom should be as far back in your seat as possible. Avoid driving with your body scorched forward; if you can’t reach the pedals or steering wheel, adjust your seat, not your body.
- Hold the steering wheel at a “10 and 2” position. Imagine the steering wheel is the face of a clock. Place your left hand where 10 o’clock would be on the clock. Place your right hand where 2 o’clock would be on the clock. Maintaining this grip will give you the most control over the wheel. Always drive with both hands on the wheel. Driving with one hand twists your spine, which can lead to back pain.
- Keep your left foot on the dead pedal when you’re not using it. If you’re driving a manual car, only move your left foot when you’re using the clutch. If you’re driving an automatic, you should never move your left foot from the dead pedal. Keeping your left foot flat on the footrest will help support your back and pelvis while you’re driving.
- Rest your wrists on the top of the steering wheel – if your shoulders lift off the seat then you need to adjust the seat so that you can rest your wrists on the steering wheel whilst keeping your shoulders against the seat. This adjustment and distance from the steering wheel will ensure that when steering, your arms will never straighten and there’s always a little bend in your elbows.
- Wear your seat belt so the strap goes across your pelvis. Don’t wear the strap that stretches across your lap over your stomach. In case of an accident, you want the strap to catch onto your pelvic bone, not your stomach.