Ergonomic Tips for Driving

Sitting posture is an important component to avoid or manage neck and back problems. Prolonged sitting, especially in a car, is a common cause of spinal pain. Proper adjustment of your car seat can make a big difference in your comfort while commuting to work and your other activities.

To Adjust the Car Seat:

  1. Sit all the way back into the seat, approximating your buttock with the back rest.
  2. Adjust the seat height as high as possible so your hips are at least as high as your knees. Be sure you can see the road and instruments.
  3. Tilt your seat forward to make the seat horizontal or tilted slightly downward.  This will help to raise the hips to equal or higher than the knees and decrease pressure on your spine.
  4. Adjust the seat forward so you can reach and completely depress the foot pedals without your back moving away from the seat. Your elbows should be bent when hands are placed on the steering wheel. Having to reach to the steering wheel increases the pressure on the lumbar spine and can cause stress in the neck, shoulders, and wrists.
  5. Your feet should be relaxed with your heels on the floor and the balls of your feet able to press the pedals.  The left foot should be placed on the footrest whenever you are not using the clutch (if driving a manual transmission) as this increases the support to both your pelvis and back.
  6. The back of your seat should be inclined to an angle of 100-110 degrees.
  7. Most cars have an adjustable lumbar support.  Adjust this cushion to fill the gap between the seat and your lower back.  You can use a rolled towel or small pillow if the car does not have a built-in support.

Adjusting your car seat can really make a positive difference. The correct seat position will make you and your spine much happier.