Proper Positioning While Driving in Frederick

Proper Positioning While Driving in Frederick

woman holding lower back

With the summer months approaching, Americans will be hitting the road for vacation travel. For many people with back pain or neck pain, the prospect of a long trip can be daunting. Many drivers do not position themselves correctly increasing the strain on their back, neck and arms. A lot of the discomfort of driving comes from improper seat placement. Along with improving driving comfort, correct seat positioning can actually help improve control of the vehicle, prevent accidents and reduce injuries sustained from collisions. To adjust to the seat to proper positioning, use the following steps.

  1. Position yourself in the seat and ensure that you are sitting as far back in the seat as possible. It may feel as though your buttocks are wedged between the seat and back.
  2. Next you want to adjust the distance between the seat and the steering wheel. Move the seat forward enough so that you can fully depress the brake (and in some vehicles the clutch also), while still maintaining a slight bend in the knees. Your leg should ideally maintain an angle of approximately 120 degrees. A fully extended leg results in the knee locking-up which reduces the leverage and feel of the pedals, increases effort, and puts you in risk of injuries in a collision. When driving try keep the knees in line with your body, and avoid it dropping to the side while you drive. This can cause some aggravation to the pelvis, which can also lead to pain in the low back, hip, knee and foot.
  3. If possible, adjust the tilt of the seat by tilting the seat forwards or backwards until there is full support of the leg from hip to knee. While having your foot on the gas pedal, make certain that the seat is not pressing uncomfortably into the back of the leg. If too much pressure is placed on the, decreased circulation in the lower leg can occur.
  4. Adjust the back of the seat to an angle that fully supports the length of your back. When the seat is reclined too far, strain on the neck occurs because you to have to bend your head and neck forward at an angle in order to see the road. Some cars have a lumbar support feature which helps maintain a lumbar curvature in the spine while in the seated position. Adjust it so it supports the lumbar area without pressing into your back and causing pain. Placing a rolled towel behind the lower back can achieve the same position.
  5. The steering wheel should be positioned close enough for your hands to reach the 10 and 2 position, while maintaining a slight bend in the elbows. Having it too close to your chest can be dangerous in an accident, but you also do not want it so far away that you are straining to reach it. Tilt the steering wheel an angle so your hands are just a little lower than your shoulders. Keep both hands on the wheel when driving. Steering with one hand makes the weight of the hand work on the wheel, for which the shoulder musculature must be used to keep the wheel steady. Driving with one hand also results in a twist of the spine, especially if you get into the habit of holding the wheel from its top
  6. Finally adjust the head restraint by having the bottom of the head restraint level with the base of your skull. The headrest should be about an inch from your head, in order to avoid whiplash in the case of an accident.

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