Many tall people and that includes me complain everytime that they actually feel their knees going weak (not after seeing a female or something) after a long drive. This is because blood circulation to the knee actually comes to a standstill depending on the kms done in the car. Most of the times, improper posture is the result of this coupled with many other factors like the quarters of the car, seat adjustment and stuff. A recent survey stated that most of the drivers or ones who choose to go on long drives in the driving seat, more often than not, in continuous 4 hours of driving, report that they are subjected to back pain as also some of the other common ailments. Its just not about adjusting the seat but also proper seating and setting correct distances between the pedals and steering wheel from one. Here are some of the pointers that Indiandrives has notched up to have a better seating position in one’s car. These pointers would go a long way in ensuring that long drives remain as painless as possible.
Seat of the car or rather the driver’ seat :
The driver has to make sure that his butt sits all the way to the back of the seat where exactly the base and back of seat are joined. A more upright stance can then be enjoyed by the driver and the natural curvature of the spine would be would be maintained and this would actually reduce the stress on the ligaments of the spine. A slouched position results in restricted head rotational movements and this can actually reduce the line of vision for the driver. Moreover, backward bending of the head becomes almost impossible when one is slouched forward and such a posture can even result in a whiplash injury from a slight rear end impact.
Base of the seat :
The front of the base should be slightly higher than the back as this helps in liberating more support and allows for the pedals to be depressed without much change in one’s spinal posture. Also, the base of the seat should never touch the back of the knees. Moving the car’s seats slightly in the forward direction helps reduce the tension in the hamstrings and increases the knee bending thing. However, moving it too forward would result in some problems whilst applying the brakes is concerned. A sweet spot needs to be found before one starts to drive and mind this folks, it should never be done when one is on the move.
Seat to pedal distance :
This is one thing which is usually ignored by drivers but should be paid heed to the most. The distance between seat and pedal is shouldn’t be so much that while operating the pedals, one has to stretch their legs too much or even twist the body in anyway. Knees should usually be bent around the 45 degrees angle. If its anything more or less, fatigue as also a lousy driving character creeps in.
Backrest angle :
A recommended position requires a slight inclination to the backrest. This should be about 10 degrees and is to stabilize the body when accelerating, braking and also cornering. Moreover, as opposed to a fully vertical driving position, this posture allows for more shifting between the body weight to the backrest to help reduce the spinal stress from the road shock and vibrations. Move the backrest in a more upright position or if it doesn’t help, then placing a 3 folded towel against the mid spine between the shoulder blades should do the trick.
Arm position :
The arms should be as relaxed as possible and elbows should usually be bent at the 20 to 30 degree angle. If the vehicle that you are driving has an adjustable steering wheel, then nothing like it. Adjust it in the mid to lower position and the stress on the shoulders would be reduced to a great extent. Moreover, the hands should be positioned at the 10:10 timing. One thing needs to be kept in mind that the steering wheel shouldn’t obstruct the view of the instrument panel.
Whenever one sits in a vehicle, check to see that the distance of the steering wheel with respect to the length of the arms. In ideal conditions, the wrist should easily reach the top of the steering wheel. In this way, one is placed in an ideal condition to drive without stretching one’s arms. This position doesn’t tax the shoulder muscles way too much on a long drive. The arms should never be fully extended but should be bent in a comfortable position which is dictated by the 10:10 position in a watch. Moreover, the seats should be adjusted in such a fashion that both the road ahead as also the clocks should be at the best viewing angle. Also, the gap between the seats and legs should be approximately 3 fingers. In this position, there isn’t much strain to be put on the leg muscles.
Some of the exercises to eliminate the pain caused due to prolonged driving are given below :
Pain often prevents one from getting enough exercise and this particular lack of exercise can worsen the pain by aiding stiffness, weakness and also de-conditioning of the core muscle groups. Moreover, it is always better to do some form of exercise to keep the muscles, discs and even the joints and their ligaments healthy and supple.
First up would come sitting on a stool with the back in an upright position. Raising the arms overhead and then gripping one hand with the other is then advised. Now, lean slowly to the side as far as one can go without bending the back. This position should be held for a couple of seconds and then one should be back to the original position. This should be repeated for the other side as well. To increase the flexibility of the arms and shoulders a rod should be gripped behind the back. In the same manner, the distance between the hands gripping the rod should be as shortened as possible. For toning the back as also the leg muscles, stand in an antelope stance with one knee resting on the ground and the other in a full stretch position. Slowly raise one hand straight forward and this posture should be kept for a full 20 seconds and then the next set should be repeated. This would enable proper breathing and loosen the joints and then tightening them again. Remember, limited motion leads to recurring back pain as can be the case when driving.