One of the first things that young drivers learn, or at least should learn, is how to properly adjust their driver seating position. Sitting correctly in a vehicle allows individuals to maintain visibility over the roadway, thus enhancing their ability to drive defensively and remain safe. One international study shows that not only can improper seat positioning lead to sore limbs, but poorly positioned drivers also face an increased risk of sustaining major injuries if an accident happens.
Here, we want to discuss how to properly adjust the driver seat position so you and your loved ones can take the steps needed to ensure roadway safety.
Provide Support for Your Back
Position your tailbone as close to the seat back as possible, aiming for a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of the seat. If needed, consider using a lumbar or back cushion to enhance support and maintain proper alignment.
Ensure Proper Hip Position
Adjust your seat pan to support your thighs along their entire length, and position your knees slightly lower than your hips. This promotes better circulation to your back and improves hip flexibility.
Maintain a Comfortable Distance
Ensure that you can reach the pedals comfortably, pressing them through their full range with your entire foot. Finding the right distance is not only about comfort but also plays a role in safety, as closer proximity to the steering wheel has been linked to more severe injuries in collisions.
Set the Right Seat Height
Adjust your seat height so that your eye level is at least three inches above the steering wheel while still allowing ample space between your head and the roof of the vehicle. If you are relatively short and driving an older vehicle where the seat does not adjust upward, you may need to purchase a small booster cushion.
Lean Back Slightly
Tilt the angle of your seat back to be slightly greater than a 90-degree perpendicular position. A reclined angle of 100 to 110 degrees is generally more comfortable and places less strain on your back compared to leaning too far back.
Position the Headrest Correctly
Set the headrest so that the top aligns with the top of your ears or the upper part of your head. It should touch the back of your head when you’re sitting comfortably. This adjustment is crucial not only for comfort but also for reducing the risk of whiplash injuries during rear-end collisions.
Utilize Lumbar Support
If your car offers adjustable lumbar support, use it to maintain even pressure from your hips to your shoulders. In the absence of automatic support built into the seating, you can use a lumbar pillow or a rolled-up towel to provide additional lumbar support.
Adjust Your Mirrors Properly
Properly align your rear-view and side mirrors to minimize the need to strain your neck while maintaining a clear view of the traffic behind you. Adjust them so that you can see with minimal head movement.
Take Regular Breaks
Even with optimal seating, driving for extended periods can lead to fatigue. It is important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Find safe rest stops or designated areas to park your vehicle and stretch periodically to alleviate fatigue and maintain alertness.
Keep in mind that these tips are just general guidelines to provide suggestions to promote your comfort and safety when you get behind the wheel. Individual needs and preferences may vary.