Driving, especially long-distance driving, can take a toll on your back, shoulders, arms, and neck. The toll can be compounded if, unfortunately, your car is not suitable size for you. (If for some reason you’re currently driving a car that isn’t the best size for you, be sure to get the right size next time you’re shopping for a new one.)
In addition to distance traveled and car size, how you sit behind the wheel can also contribute to making your time on the road a less than pleasant experience.
Have you been paying close attention to how you sit when driving?
See if you tick all the boxes in our list below of the ways to ensure proper posture behind the wheel:
Sit up straight.
That’s as simple as it gets. But it’s not always easy, especially if you have a tendency to slouch. Remember to check your posture from time to time to make sure you’re sitting with your back as tall as possible. You can also get a little help from a supportive cushion or a brace to help maintain proper posture, if your car seat does not have lumbar support.
Keep your shoulders back.
As you elongate your spine to sit up straight, be sure to keep your shoulders back. To stretch out your muscles and release any tension that has built up the longer you stay on the road, roll your shoulders.
Keep your head up straight
Your chin should create a 90-degree angle with your spine. Avoid letting your neck droop to prevent kinks and neck pain.
Keep your hips at least as high as your knees.
Adjust the height and distance of your seat so that you are able to sit up and still reach the pedals. You know you have adjusted your seat to the right height if your hips are just about the same level as your knees.
When adjusting your seat, also make sure that you can still see the instruments and the road ahead. You should not be so high that you have to bend your head down or to the side so you can see.
Make sure the backs of your knees don’t touch the car seat edge.
The backs of your knees touching the edge of the car seat is bad for your knees and circulation. Maintain a gap that’s at least two fingers wide between the back of your knees and the seat. Mind that your knees are not too straight out, as this can cause pain. Instead, keep them slightly bent at least 20 to 30 degrees.
Keep your feet relaxed.
Make sure your feet are relaxed, with your heels on the floor and the balls of your feet able to press the pedals. You should be able to move your right foot between the accelerator and brake pedal when the heel is placed roughly in front of the brake pedal. You should have your left foot resting on the footrest when you’re not using the clutch. This is for increased support to both your pelvis and your back.
Tip: Take breaks to stretch on long drives.
If you have a long drive ahead, rest stops are necessary. On these stops, be sure to stretch to straighten out and loosen up any areas that have become tight and tense.
Driving is both mentally and physically demanding. Both mental and physical alertness are necessary to keep you safe on the road, as well as spare your wallet from some costly repairs that could have been easily avoided.
If you’re looking for great savings when it comes to necessary repairs, check out EverCare Protection’s vehicle service contract plans if your manufacturer’s warranty is running out soon.