Driving Position to Avoid Back Pain

You can help your back by ensuring your driving posture is as comfortable as possible with the driving controls and switches within easy reach. Here are ten tips to ensure you are seated comfortably:

  1. Getting in and out of the car can be difficult due to the location of the steering wheel, pedals and low roof. Try to avoid twisting and straining. To get in, sit on the outer edge of the seat and turn your whole body into the car. When getting out, turn your whole body towards the door and slide your feet onto the ground. Shuffle forward to the edge of the seat so that you can use the strength of your thigh muscles to get you onto your feet. To ease getting in and out move the seat backwards to allow more space to swing the legs in and out of the car.
  1. Adjust the seat length so your thighs are in contact with the seat almost up to the back of the knees. The distance between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees should be about two or three fingers wide.
  1. Sit with your shoulders as close as possible to the backrest. Adjust the angle of the backrest so that you can easily reach the steering wheel with your arms bent. Your shoulders should remain in contact with the backrest when you turn the steering wheel.
  1. Sit with your buttocks as close as possible to the backrest – adjust the distance to the pedals so your legs are slightly bent when you press a pedal to the floor.
  1. When you feel you have got it right adjust the mirror to suit that posture. Ensure you can use all the mirrors available to that you can cut down on twisting around, especially when reversing.
  1. Being comfortably seated is very important when driving. Ensure your seat is adjusted so it is comfortable for you and if your vehicle does not have lumbar support seating, use a lumbar support cushion to support your back.
  1. Think about your posture. Keep your chin in. Don’t grip the wheel. Relax your shoulders and keep you head upright. Adjust the height of the seat to the highest comfortable position. This ensures that you will have a clear view on all sides and of dashboard instruments.
  1. Exercises can relieve tension. In a traffic jam or at the lights raise your shoulders up to your ears whilst breathing in, breathe out and let your shoulders drop and relax.
  1. Rest the foot down if it is not needed.
  1. Take regular breaks to move around and do back stretches. Also stretch before you begin a journey, any time it is possible and safe to do so during your journey and after the journey.

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