Did you know that proper driving posture can prevent serious injuries?
It can also reduce those old aches.
Lower back pain.
You name it.
This is why it’s so important to know the proper driving posture.
And we’re here to teach you all about that.
In this complete guide, we’ll talk about how to properly adjust your seat, steering wheel, headrest, and mirrors.
With proper adjustments, you will be able to sit with the proper posture.
So without further ado, let’s get to it!
What Is the Proper Driving Posture?
You can only have proper driving posture if certain parts of your vehicle are adjusted to fit YOU.
For example, you’ll have to stretch your feet out to the pedals if your seat is too far back…
Or, you might have to lift your arms and shoulders if the steering wheel is too high.
You can already tell that is NOT proper posture.
This is why, in the following section, we’ll teach you how to adjust the different parts of a vehicle for a proper driving posture.
How to Adjust Your Seat for Proper Driving Posture
How you sit is often the first place to start when correcting your driving posture.
Most just sit on the driver’s seat and wiggle around until they’re comfy (for the time being at least).
We don’t want that.
We want you to be comfortable no matter how long you’re driving.
So here is how to adjust your seat…
- Seat height
Adjusting the height of your seat is pretty straightforward.
Most vehicles come with automatic adjusters located on the side or under your seat. These allow you to adjust your seat up and down or push it backward and forward.
A much harder task is knowing how high is good enough.
Well, the best height is when your hips are on the same level as your knees.
This allows you to extend your legs to the pedals with ease.
You also shouldn’t have to bend forward to see the road or access your instruments when you are seated at the appropriate height.
If you’re still having trouble getting your height right, then consider using a seat cushion to give you some added height.
- Seat position
Next, you’ll have to ensure your seat is not too far back or forward.
You don’t want to be too far back as it’ll be hard to reach the pedals…
But you also don’t want to be too near that your legs get uncomfortable.
In this case, there are two rules you need to be aware of.
First, your knees should be able to bend around 20 to 30 degrees for ample space.
Second, the heels of your feet should rest next to the pedal. This is so you can easily alternate between the accelerator and the brake.
- Seat tilt and inclination
The recline function on car seats is often used incorrectly by drivers.
They get short-term comfort for long-term pain.
Too much tilt can be devastating for your lower back.
Also, it makes you frequently lean forward to get a better view of the road.
Moreover, it leads to overextension of the arms — that’ll make steering harder.
You have to make sure you aren’t overdoing it when you lean back.
To do that, adjust the seat bottom to have a 10 to 20-degree recline from the backrest.
As for the seat back, it should be at a 100 to 110-degree angle.
- Lumbar support
If you want, you can add greater lumbar support for your back.
What is lumbar support?
Well, it’s a back seat cushion that helps maintain the natural curvature of your spine.
It helps keep your posture in tip-top shape.
Some vehicles come with added cushioning, while many different options are available after-market for those who need it.
This is especially useful if your car seat isn’t doing it for you…
Or you’ve got a pre-existing medical condition that can aggravate fatigue.
But before you add lumbar support, it’s best to try it out first. There isn’t a one size fits all approach.
How to Adjust Your Steering Wheel for Proper Driving Posture
The steering wheel is another vital component to consider when ensuring proper driving posture.
You should be able to reach your steering wheel with ease…
Without so much tension on your arms and shoulders…
All while still having a proper seating position.
So here is how to adjust your steering wheel for proper driving posture…
- Steering wheel distance
For safety purposes, you’ll have to be anywhere between 10 to 12 inches away from the steering wheel.
This is so you won’t be too near that the impact of an airbag will injure you more than protect you.
For comfort, have a noticeable, but not excessive, bend in your arms (around 120 degrees).
This will prevent arm and shoulder tension.
- Steering wheel height
Almost all cars come fitted with an adjustment lever to change the positioning of your steering wheel.
This is usually located right underneath it — above where the pedals are.
In most vehicles, this is a manual operation.
You’ll have to pull on the lever and position the steering wheel yourself. More high-end vehicles may include this as an automatic feature.
The steering wheel height should allow you to easily grasp the wheel — without having to position your arms too far up or down.
Most cars also allow you to pull it forward or backward too.
This allows you to adjust its positioning without compromising on proper seat placement.
Proper height and placement will allow your shoulder blades to rest on your seat and not lead to over or underextension of your arms.
How to Adjust Your Headrest for Proper Driving Posture
It makes sense that your seat, steering wheel, and seatbelt position can affect your driving posture…
But your headrest, too???
The headrest is another important element in proper driving posture.
It helps relieve neck and upper back pain when used correctly.
Now, some drivers take out the headrest completely, which they claim helps with comfort.
Rest assured though, the headrest was designed for a reason, and taking it off will lead to long-term pain.
So here is how to adjust your headrest the proper way…
- Secure the headrest
Your headrest should have little to no room to wiggle around.
If it does, that will only lead to distraction and discomfort.
So first things first, make sure it is properly connected to the seat’s backrest.
Loose headrests are most common in older cars that have been in use for a LONG time.
- Headrest height
Most modern vehicles come with adjustable headrests.
You can press down on the locking knobs to move your headrest to your preferred position. Some are adjusted automatically through buttons.
Now, the goal here is to adjust your headrest according to your height.
The aim is to keep your neck in a straight, upright position.
You should also ensure that your head rests on the middle section. Not too low or too high.
- Headrest angle
Some headrests allow drivers to tilt the angle forward or backward to get a better resting position.
This is both a good thing and a bad thing.
The good thing is that it allows you to maintain a neutral posture that’ll keep your spine and neck straight.
You can avoid over or under-extending your head.
The bad thing is that people sometimes go overboard with this.
Many drivers are guilty of positioning their heads too forward or backward, leading to unnecessary strain.
Don’t do that.
How to Adjust Your Mirrors for Proper Driving Posture
Here’s another surprise…
Your mirrors — really?
It’s not just your actual seating position that matters.
You also need to adjust everything you work with to improve proper driving posture.
- Front mirrors
When you’re already seated properly, you will hardly have to make drastic movements.
However, let’s say your front mirrors are angled too high…
Well, you’ll have to adjust your neck to view it clearly.
The same is true if the front mirror is too low.
So make sure to adjust it in a way that you can see everything with just a glance — and without having to move your neck.
- Side mirrors
Even more important, adjust your side mirrors to allow for easy viewing of the traffic on both your left and right.
Position the mirrors in a way that you get a full view while maintaining proper posture.
Remember, you shouldn’t have to move your head around to get a clear view of your sides.
This will not only improve proper driving posture — it will help you be more relaxed.
I mean, you don’t have to worry about whipping your head here and there when you make a maneuver.
Why Proper Driving Posture is Important
Proper driving posture is something that deserves more importance.
Sadly, when we learn to drive, we are often made to focus solely on the road — and that’s a good thing.
However, we should also be informed about proper driving posture.
How to customize the car parts to our bodies.
This is because proper driving posture keeps you more protected in case of accidents…
Even helps you avoid accidents…
As well as prevents aches and pains over many years of incorrect posture.
So that is your complete guide to proper driving posture.
Remember, this isn’t just about comfort.
It’s about making sure you’re in the right position to be able to drive more safely.
So go ahead and adjust your car parts to YOUR body.
Use our guide as a help when doing this.