A stiff neck, sore shoulders and an achy back – we’ve all experienced these uncomfortable symptoms. One of the biggest culprits? Your daily commute. Slouching at the steering wheel while you drive around can cause discomfort that lasts throughout the day. Ensuring that your car seat is adjusted correctly is not only essential for a comfortable and ache-free ride, it also warrants a safe one. A properly adjusted seat can also support better visibility while you’re driving on the road.
Read on and find out more on how to adjust your car seat in a way that will maximize your comfort and safety.
The first thing you should do whenever you get in any rental car is to shift the seat height. Your eye level should be raised at least three inches above the steering wheel, while still leaving sufficient space between your head and the car’s roof.
Stretch out the back of the car seat to approximately 30-40 degrees, then adjust the steering wheel up and in; as if pushing it towards the dashboard. Then, adjust the car seat upwards until your hips are at knee height. Make sure the road and the instruments are still visible. If it’s too low, adjust your position upwards using cushions.
When adjusting your seat position, ensure that you aren’t sitting too close to the steering wheel. This is a safety consideration, as studies have suggested that having your chest too close to the wheel increases your chances of suffering severe head, neck and chest injuries during a collision.
Your feet should be able to reach the pedals and press them fully comfortably. You should also have a small bend in your knees (of about 20-30 degrees) to avoid straining or hurting them.
Lean back a little so that the angle of your backrest is slightly greater than 90 degrees. The least pressure will be placed on your back at a non-perpendicular 100 to 110 degrees. However, avoid leaning too far back as it forces your head and neck to be pushed forward, which may cause neck and shoulder pain.
When choosing car rental services, make sure that the car has adjustable lumbar support. Ensure that you can adjust both the height and depth of the lumbar support before you drive off.
Adjust the depth and height of the lumbar support to fill the arch on your back comfortably. You should feel an even pressure from your hips to your shoulders. Doing trial and error is necessary to find the right position. If your rented car doesn’t have automatic lumbar support, you can use a lumbar pillow or a rolled-up towel to create the same effect.
Most rental cars have adjustable headrests. Ideally, the headrest should be able to adjust both vertically and horizontally.
Adjust the height so that the headrest is positioned at the middle of your head; between the top of your ears and top of your head. To adjust the horizontal position of the headrest, ensure that your head is at an upright position (earlobe in-line with your collar bone and neck). Then, adjust the headrest forward until it just touches the back of your head.
Finally, adjust the other parts of your car to complement the adjustment of your seat. Make sure that the lap portion of the seat belt goes over the pelvis, not abdomen or stomach, and the upper part goes over the bone on your shoulder.
As for your rear-view and side-view mirrors, make sure that you’re able to see the oncoming vehicles behind you without having to strain your neck.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you get seated in a new rental car. Maintaining a good driving posture will not only keep you ache-free, but it could also help you maintain visibility on the road for safer driving.