How to Find Your Best Driving Position
It is estimated that at least 80 percent of adults will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. There are many different reasons for this, ranging from work to leisure activities. If you are among the many who spend countless hours behind the wheel, you are likely to find yourself suffering from long-term back pain or discomfort.
The reality is that if you spend long hours stuck behind the wheel of your car with your hands gripping the steering wheel, this can easily cause or add to the amount and severity of the back pain you experience. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to reduce the amount of stress and damage that long distance or frequent driving can cause to your back.
Simple things like swapping roles frequently if there are other licensed drivers in your vehicle can help if you are driving a long way. Changing positions gives your back a break and reduces the amount of wear and tear. The same can be said of taking frequent breaks to pull over, get out, and walk around for a few minutes and stretching your muscles to reduce strain.
Using Your Car to Reduce Driver Fatigue and Strain
While the above steps can help reduce the effects of spending too much time locked behind the wheel, wouldn’t it be better to reduce or eliminate the pain and stress of driving in the first place? The reality is that your car has been designed to help with this, and depending on what type of vehicle and the trim level you buy, your vehicle may have a myriad of adjustments specifically added to make your drive comfortable and stress-free.
Most modern luxury cars feature a driver’s seat with multiple adjustments. You need to move the seat forward or back until you are sitting upright with your back and buttocks firmly resting against the back of the seat. At the same time, the seat should be set in such a way that there is a slight bend in your knees when your feet are resting on the pedals. You can also use the seat height adjustment to create the ideal sitting position. Use the adjustable lumbar support to help ensure your back is in the perfect position to reduce stress and pain.
The Steering Wheel
Most steering wheels feature tilt and telescoping adjustments, allowing you to move the wheel up and down as well as closer to you or further away. The ideal steering wheel position is as low as possible without it resting on your legs or blocking your view of the instrument panel. You should adjust the steering wheel after you adjust the seat and move it in or out until your arms are straight when your wrists are sitting on the top of the wheel. This position will create a slight bend in your arms when your hands are in the proper driving position.
The Head Rest
Unlike its name, the head rest in your car is not really designed for you to rest your head on while driving. Instead, it is there to stop your head from whipping back in the event of an accident. Ideally, the cushion should sit behind the rounded portion of your skull where it meets the top of your spine.
Most luxury cars now feature adjustable pedals designed to make it easier to find the perfect driving position. In many cases, shorter drivers have a hard time reaching the pedals, even with the seat moved all the way forward. Driving while stretching to reach the pedals is not only dangerous but also very uncomfortable if you are driving for long distances. With the seat in the proper position, move the pedals towards or away from you to achieve a slight bend in your knees — just like the position you want to settle in when moving the seat.
You might not think seat belts could contribute to your pain and suffering, but if you do not have them set just right, you will be constantly shifting around to reduce the amount of discomfort they cause. The belts should be placed such that they are low across your abdomen and shoulder and fit snugly without being tight. Today’s cars let you set the height of the shoulder belt; the mounting point should be level with your ear to ensure proper positioning.
With a little time, effort, and practice, you can set your seat and seatbelt to the perfect position to ensure a safe and pain-free drive no matter how far your trip will take you.