When you’re flying out the door for your daily commute, seat position probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. But, according to Ergonomics Simplified, driving can create significant stress to the neck and the upper and lower back, especially if your seat is in a sub-optimal position. Properly adjusting your seat position will help you be more comfortable, and safe, while on the road. Here’s how to do it:
1) Seat Position
To start move your seat as low to the the floor as possible, push it all the way back from the pedals, and recline about 30-40 degrees. Bring the seat height up until your hips are as high as your knees, and ensure you can comfortably see the road and instruments. Then, scoot the seat forward until you can reach and completely depress all the foot pedals without coming away from the back of the seat. Next, bring the back of the seat forward until you are reclined at a 100-110 degree angle. This decreases the pressure on the discs in your low back. If possible, you should adjust the lumbar support so you have even back support.
This position should be supportive and comfortable. If you find you are too low after making these adjustments you can try adding a cushion or wedge to the seat. Cushions not only increase comfort, but decrease vibration from the road which can also contribute to ergonomic injury. When using a seat cushion, be sure it’s the appropriate height- you shouldn’t have to bend your head down or to the side to see the road. A lumbar cushion also can be added if your car lacks sufficient lumbar support for your needs.
This step is often forgotten, but headrests are really important when it comes to comfortable driving. Adjust your headrest up or down so that it rests squarely in the middle of your head. This will reduce strain on your neck while driving and promote proper alignment.
3) Seat belt
Adjust the seat belt to fit you instead of adjusting the seat to accommodate the seat belt position. The seat belt should lay comfortably and snugly across your chest and shoulder. It should never be digging into your neck, or worn under your arm, as this could cause serious injury in an accident.
4) Steering Wheel
Bring the steering wheel down and toward you to minimize reach. Your arms should not be scrunched up or stretched out, but have a relaxed bend. The less your elbows reach forward and up the less the strain on your neck and upper back.
After moving your seat, you’ll need to adjust the side and rear view mirrors to ensure you remain safe on the road. Never make an adjustment that would make you less likely to see the road, your mirrors, or other instruments easily.
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