Drive Safe! – The Secret of a Good Driving Position

September 10, 2018 | By | Reply READ MORE...

– Vidhi Ravaria

With increasing traffic in the city driving hours are increasing day by day so It is very important to set your car seat in the correct position, this not only prevent repeated injuries to your back and neck but also the position you are in while driving can have a major bearing on your driving comfort and efficiency. Most cars are not designed for correct sitting posture, however many now offer a vast array of adjustments to both the seat and steering allowing for a better overall driving position.

The correct driving position:

There is no such thing as a correct position. The setup for a car seat will be different for each person as each individual has different sizes of arms, legs and torsos. While we cannot provide a driver the perfect driving position, we can suggest a few basic tips which can provide you with a drive close to perfection, which you can than adjust accordingly over the time to meet your own requirements.

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Seat Height:
Adjust the seat height up until your hips are at least as high as your knees. Make sure you are not so high so that you have to bend your head down or to the side in order to see .If you are still too low after adjusting to the maximum height, try adding a cushion or wedge to the seat. Make sure the back of your knees do not touch the car seat bottom, there should be at least a two finger gap between the back of your knee and the seat.

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Seat Position:
Next adjust the seat forward so you can reach and completely depress all the foot pedals without your back moving away from the back of the seat. Make sure you have a small bend in your knees of at least 20-30 degrees. Your foot should be relaxed with your heels on the floor and the ball of the foot able to press the pedals. The right foot should be able to move easily between the accelerator and brake pedal when the heel is placed roughly in front of the brake pedal. The left foot should be resting on the footrest whenever you are not using the clutch.

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The Inclination of the Seat Back:
Raise the inclination of the seat back to an angle of 110-120 degrees. This angle decreases the pressure on the discs in your low back.

Steering Wheel and Arm Position:
In cars fitted with airbags in the steering wheels, a certain distance is required in order for them to work optimally – anywhere around 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) is a good minimal distance. When stationary, you should be able to sit with your shoulder blades pressed back into the seat and with a straight arm, your wrist should be able to bend over the edge of the steering wheel. Then, when driving, you should find that you have a bend in your elbow of around 120 degrees.

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Lumbar Support:
Many car seats have lumbar support. These supports are often both height and depth adjustable. Adjust the support to the correct height by positioning it in the curve of your lower back. Adjust the depth of the lumbar support by moving it from
flat until it comfortably fills the arch of your back. Ideally, your lumbar support should just fill the gap. If you don’t have lumbar support built in the car then use a small rolled up towel in the curve of your lower back. The towel can be rolled less or more to create varying sizes of curve until you find the right one for you.

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Supporting the Thoracic Spine or Rib Cage:
Ideally, the back of your car seat should reach the height of your shoulders. Most car seats come with adjustable headrests. Ideally, you should be able to adjust both the height and the front-to-back position. Adjust the height of the headrest so it rests in the middle of your head. To adjust front-to-back, sit with your head in a ‘neutral’ position. To do this, first sit upright, than align your earlobe between the collar bone and neck muscles. Alternatively, imagine you are tucking your head to hold a small ball under your chin. Now adjust the headrest forwards until it meets the back of your head.

Seat Belt:
Most cars now come with three-point seat belts and some have adjustable seat belts.

When fastening your seat belt, try not to reach for it with the arm on the seat belt side as this puts your shoulder into a bad position. Instead, reach across with the opposite arm and turn from your body, not your shoulder .Another consideration when using your seat belt is to ensure the lap portion goes across the pelvis and not the stomach. The upper portion of the seat belt should pass over the collar bone, not the neck or the shoulder, and never under the arm.

Other Factors:
Changing gears on either a manual or automatic car can affect shoulder and neck problems. If you are suffering from a problem which is on the same side of the gear box, you may need to adjust your car seat to accommodate it. However, this will affect the rest of your sitting position. If possible, try to drive a car where reaching for the gear box allows the elbow to remain in a neutral position – neither reaching to a straight arm, nor bending beyond 90 degrees. The steering height should allow a clear view of the dashboard with your palms just lower than your shoulders.
Any adjustment should also allow you to grip the steering wheel in your preferred position. This is normally described in relation to a clock face – some people use the ‘nine and three’ position.

The ‘nine and three’ position gives the best leverage on the wheel but causes you to use your shoulder and neck muscles more. Try to grip the steering wheel using mainly your fingers and fingertips, and try to keep the grip as light as possible in order to combat fatigue. Keep both hands on the steering wheel as much as possible, as steering with one hand causes one shoulder to work harder.

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