Dr. Steve Iley, Chief Medical Officer of Jaguar and Land Rover, shares his insights on how to achieve the perfect driving position. It is important to understand why a good seating position is paramount in driving safely and comfortably, so on top of the video we share our insights in each category that Jaguar mentions as well. A good seating position allows the driver to not overextend their joints and musculature so reaching and interacting with any of the control interfaces of the car will be effortless and less stressful. For other tips from the team at Autodeal, check Caco’s video on how to achieve the optimal driving position.
Clear your pockets
Possibly the easiest and most effective way to ensure your comfort when driving is emptying your pockets of anything that will ruin your sitting position. Now that phones are getting bigger and bigger, it would be wise to keep your phone in a cubby hole or on a phone mount in the car. Waze users, or Apple Carplay/Android Auto users won’t have to worry since their phones must be plugged in and out of pocket anyway.
We feel that this item deserves its own section. Take your wallet out of your pocket. Numerous studies have already observed how badly a wallet – either thick or thin – would be for your back if you sat on it all day. Take your wallet out and place it in a cubby hole, it would help you find a comfortable seating position, and it will let you sit normally without running the risk of becoming sore.
Push all the way
Push yourself all the way back into the seat. Minimize the gap between your lower back and the seat. Make sure that your bottom is also maximizing the rear seat space of the chair so that the seat will support your entire body.
Make sure that your upper back is touching the chair. If designed well, the seat will take into account the natural curvature of the human spine. Using a well designed seat will ensure that your back is not strained trying to keep your body upright. Any bump on the road will also be supported by seat, giving you a more comfortable drive over Manila’s potholes.
Adjusting the recline
After actually sitting in the chair, it is now time to adjust your seat to fit your dimensions. Start with the recline of your chair. Make sure that your spine and pelvis are straight when you adjust the back of your seat. Gauge whether your backrest is too forward or too far back. Without a second set of eyes it is hard to see whether your spine is in line with your pelvis. So a rule of thumb can apply. If you feel like you are too forward, or too curled up, it is time to recline a bit. You know you have gone too far if your chin is closing the gap towards your neck. In short, sit upright, and make sure that you sit tall in your car.
Your thighs have to be at rest on the seat, and there should be no pressure points when interacting with the pedals.
All railed up
In order to gauge whether you’re close enough to the pedals, think of it this way: you want to ensure that you have control over the acceleration and braking of a vehicle. To do this, you must make sure that your leg is not over extended or too cramped when stepping on any of the pedals. You have to also make sure that your knee does not lock when stepping on the clutch, for example. If your knee locks, that could be an accident waiting to happen. To alleviate this, make sure that your legs and feet are close enough when flooring the gas, brake, or clutch to achieve a slight bend. This indicates that you’re leg is in its optimal range of motion to carry out emergency maneuvers.
Elbows do what elbows do, bend
Your steering wheel is another interface that you must be best friends with. You would want to make sure that your steering wheel is comfortably close to you so you have the widest range of motion ready for turning with ease. To gauge this, you have to push your shoulders all the way to the back of the chair, and reach for the steering wheel. If your arms are slightly bent, then you have the optimal position. To further check this, put both hands in the nine and three position on the steering wheel and turn as far as possible without letting go of your grip on the wheel. If you can do this without difficulty, while your arms are still bent and not straight, then your steering wheel position is optimal.
Make sure that your shoulders are in contact with the seat when reaching for the steering wheel. As stated in the exercise earlier involving the nine and three grip, make sure that your shoulders don’t move too far away from the back rest to ensure that your turning is as comfortable as possible.
Use your head… rest
Another easily glossed over item in your seat is the headrest. Make sure that it is in line with the back of your head. And to top it all off, make sure that the top of the headrest is close to the top of your head.
Also consider these bits of information for your next drive. As we all know, the traffic situation in Metro Manila leaves motorists ‘stranded’ in the cabins of their car for hours and hours on end. It makes sense to get comfortable. Take note that all of these tips will require you to rely on the seat to support your body in the vehicle. For other applications such as racing, these tips are taken to heart by most racing drivers, with brands like Recaro or Bride providing seating solutions that ensure proper posture and support for some of the fastest racing drivers in the industry. If it hasn’t sunk in yet, think of it this way, it is not an option for race car drivers to slouch or have bad posture since it helps achieve the fastest lap times with the least soreness. If a good driving position is good enough and required for them, it will surely be good for your next commute to work.
If you want to know more, here is the video released by Jaguar on Youtube.