Finding the correct seating position is not only important for safer driving — it is also healthier for your body.
In getting behind the wheel, most of us would not give much thought to setting ourselves up for the proper driving position. This fundamental aspect of driving is something most of us take for granted.
Look around and you are likely to spot a few drivers who look awkwardly stuffed in the driver’s seat. Some appear to be just peering over the dashboard; others are sitting way too close to the steering wheel; and then you have those who hang one arm outside the window with the other fully extended, looking too cool to care.
While these drivers have the right to say “my car, my way”, they need to understand that the seamless communication between car and driver translates to improved control, where the vehicle responds to their every input. Getting into your optimal driving position is a great start to achieving that.
To achieve this, keep in mind these basics:Line of sight
The driver’s line of sight is an important consideration. We all change our line of sight depending on the traffic situations and motoring conditions, whether it’s looking further ahead when travelling on the expressway, or focusing on nearby objects, such as pedestrians and cyclists in and around town.
To achieve this, adjust your steering wheel so that the top of the wheel is level with your shoulders. This will direct the driver’s eye-point into what some call the Eye-line Zone, which gives an optimal view immediately in front of the car and into the distance.
Get into a seating position that has your back firmly against the seat, extend your arms until your wrists sit comfortably on top of the steering wheel. Don’t bend your arms and legs too tightly.
Being too close to the wheel and dashboard doesn’t make your driving vision better; it actually restricts your motion. Keep your legs and arms slightly bent instead as this will relax your limbs and give you a better range of motion should you need to react to road conditions.Natural driving movements
Optimise your position to where you can operate the car as naturally as possible. Maintain a comfortable, natural grip on the steering wheel with your hands in the three and nine o’clock position. The gear stick and controls for car functions such as the aircon should be within comfortable reach. A telescopic steering adjustment will be a bonus as it allows wider adjustment capabilities.
Shift your seat to position your heel on the floor, so that you only flex your heel and not your knee when you are operating the pedals. The important benefit of this is improved safety — studies have shown that moving the foot from the accelerator to the brake takes a few tenths of a second longer if the heel is not planted on the floor. That short interval of time makes for a real big difference in certain circumstances. This position also helps maintain a comfortable leg position without putting too much strain on your calf muscles, which is beneficial for long drives.