Car seating has changed over the years, but most cars have not gotten more ergonomically sound and comfortable, but rather worse. Some of these issues can be remedied by making adjustments to the existing components and other times an addition may need to be made.
No matter the circumstance, the more you know and understand about neutral posture and positioning, the better off you will be in ensuring you are comfortable in your car.
A vehicle’s interior must be adjustable so drivers of different heights and shapes can:
- reach the pedals and controls,
- have sufficient headroom,
- sit high enough to see out the front and side windows and mirrors,
- reach the steering wheel without stretching the arms.
When properly adjusted, the driver should be able to reach the pedals, steering wheel and other controls without stretching the legs and arms and should have a good view of the instruments, gauges, and all mirrors, and a good vision through the front and side windows.
If your car seating lacks the necessary adjustments to be comfortable while driving, there are a variety of car inserts that can be used, ranging greatly in price.
- Make minor adjustments to your position occasionally to change the stressors on your body. Depending on the car, the adjustments can include seat height, seat pan depth and angle steering wheel angle and distance adjustment.
- Change your grip on the wheel occasionally. Consider changing your grip from the 10 & 2 o’clock position to 9 & 3 and 8 & 4 positions.
- Do not use the car as an office. It places you in an awkward posture and position, with limited space to accomplish tasks.
- Don’t store items on the back seat or seat back pockets where reaching for them will cause awkward twisting. Instead, get out of the car and retrieve the items through the rear door.
- Give your body a few minutes out of the car before lifting things from the trunk. It’s a good idea to stretch and walk around a bit if time allows.
- Always remove your wallet from your back pocket before sitting. This causes the pelvis to twist stressing the back.
- Take frequent breaks to get out and stretch at least every 2 hours. This is important for your back but also your hands as holding a steering wheel for long periods can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.
For more information on office and industrial ergonomics, products and furniture, you will find additional articles on the JR Ergonomics Blog.
If you would like more information about how to adjust your car seating, schedule an assessment for your car or have other ergonomic questions, please contact Jennifer Rappaport, MOTR/L, CPE at JR Ergonomics via email or phone. 503-380-5550 • firstname.lastname@example.org