Most of us spend a lot of time in our vehicles, and for many people, this can be really hard on the body. It’s not just long drives that are tough on our bodies, it’s also sitting in the same position for hours at a time. This can cause back pain, neck pain, leg cramps and more. We are doing everything it takes to ensure maximum safety every time we get behind the wheel. But do you ever pay attention to how you behave inside your vehicle? Well, the UK’s leading safety belt manufacturers have compiled these best practices to help you figure that out. Follow these 10 tips for good driving posture to make your ride more comfortable.
1. Give adequate support for your back
When you drive, your spine should be well supported to help maintain good posture. Why is this important? Well, poor posture while driving has been linked to health issues like lower back pain and even headaches. Make sure you’re seated comfortably in your vehicle when you drive by adjusting the lumbar support of your seat. A back cushion can go a long way in supporting your lower back while you drive. If you suffer from chronic back problems or have been experiencing severe pain while driving, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention immediately.
2. Watch your head and neck
It’s easy for your head to fall forward as you drive because you’re looking at the road ahead of you, but this position can put a lot of stress on your neck. If you hold your head in an upright position, it will help reduce strain on your neck. The best way to position your head and neck is to make sure your ears are aligned with your shoulders. When you’re seated in the proper position, you shouldn’t feel stiffness or pain on either side of your neck. If you’re turning to check your blind spot, make sure you’re not twisting your neck. Turning your head will cause a lot of stress on the ligaments that hold your neck together.
3. Keep your shoulders open and relaxed
Whatever position you’re in while driving shouldn’t be rigid. Keeping your shoulders back and opening up the chest will help you remain relaxed in your vehicle. If you’re not in the proper position, it will cause pain and tension throughout your body. The best way to keep your shoulders open is to remember that they shouldn’t be positioned too high or too low when compared to the rest of your body. What is important is that you’re keeping your shoulders back and opening up the chest.
4. Don’t forget to lift your hips
Make sure to adjust your seat conveniently so that your knees are lower than your hips when you’re seated. One of the main reasons why drivers experience leg cramps is because they forget to lift their hips while driving. This will help stretch out your muscles and make them more flexible. It’ll also help relax any tension in your lower back. If you don’t adjust your seat to position your hips correctly, you might end up with stiff legs and cramps.
5. Your arms should be relaxed
Your arms shouldn’t be positioned at a 90-degree angle, and neither should they be bent. Either of these two positions can cause tension in your shoulders and neck. Make sure that your arms are relaxed. This will help promote good blood flow throughout the body while freeing up space to allow air circulation. Your arms also shouldn’t reach too far when it comes to operating the steering wheel. Your arms should be in a position with which you can comfortably operate all controls with ease before reaching for the steering wheel.
6. You can lean back a bit
When driving, it’s important that your back is straight and that you don’t slouch or lean. Slouching can put a lot of strain on your neck. However, you shouldn’t sit up really straight with a stiff back because it will cause pain and discomfort. The best driving position is when you find that happy medium between leaning back and sitting upright. Make sure to check your position every once in a while to make sure you’re not leaning too far back nor are you sitting up very straight. If your back is hurting, then it’s time to adjust the way you’re seated.
7. Adjust mirrors to your comfort
As some of you may know by now, poor posture while driving may also lead to shoulder pain, neck irritation and even chest pain? Your vehicle’s side-view mirrors represent one of the first areas where these conditions can arise. A good rule of thumb is to adjust your rearview mirror so you can see directly behind your car. You should check that you’re not tilting your head too far to the left or right when trying to see if it’s safe to change lanes. If you find yourself moving your whole body closer towards the mirror, then it’s time for you to readjust the mirror so it can be more comfortable for you.
8. Adjust your headrest
Most cars come with an adjustable headrest, so adjust the height of the headrest for support for your neck. A good rule-of-thumb is to center your ears directly over your shoulders when you look ahead at the road. Make sure that your head is not tilting forward or leaning too far back when you’re in the proper driving position. It’s important that you’re comfortable, but at the same time you don’t want to be too relaxed. With the proper headrest height relative to your seat, you can prevent tension from building up in your neck and shoulders.
9. Don’t forget about your knees
As mentioned before, it’s important that you lift your hips while sitting in a car. This will help promote good blood flow throughout the body while freeing up space to allow air circulation. However, it’s also extremely important that you’re shifting positions from time to time as well as moving both your feet and your knees. If you’re not moving your feet and shifting your weight, then it’s likely that you’ll end up with leg cramps. A little movement in the lower body is good for the muscles and joints of the back, groin and hip flexors.
10. Stretch it out
After a long drive or while waiting for someone, make sure to stretch your muscles. It’s best to start with the neck and shoulders because they may be the most vulnerable parts of your body. Just remember not to move in any way that would distract you from driving. It may be a good idea to take a break every once in a while. Take advantage of any rest stop you see on the road to get up and move around for 5-10 minutes before getting back behind the wheel.
In conclusion, proper driving posture is important because it can help you avoid discomfort while at the same time helping you maintain focus when behind the wheel. As long as you’re sitting upright in a good driving position, then you’ll avoid aches and pains caused by sitting in the same position for long periods of time.