Driving a car can be essential if you are traveling long distances to get from one place to another, or have kids that you need to drop off at school, five days a week. With all the chores and activities that need to be done, forgetting to drive in the correct position could yield some unwanted health problems in the long run.
In this article by Kwiksure, we will provide you with some helpful steps to adopt when positioning yourself to drive in your car, and avoid all those unwanted health problems like lower back pain.
Perhaps you are aware of the health problems that arise from poor posture whilst driving and you want to fix your old habits before developing health problems of your own, but maybe you're not sure how to do so. Below are some helpful tips to get you on your way:
1. Lean back
Once seated in the car, you should lean back and slide your tailbone as close to the back of the seat as possible. The back of your head should be in line with the headrest. If the headrest is too high or too low, then it is recommended that you should adjust it. Other than allowing you to rest your head, the headrest is also designed to help reduce severe whiplash, which often occurs during a rear-end car accident. Thus, leaning firmly back against the seat allows you to adjust the headrest accordingly.
2. Leave a small gap between the edge of your seat and knees
By leaving a small gap in between, you naturally raise your hips, which opens the joints of your lower body. This is important as it prevents your blood circulation from getting cut off. Have you ever felt aches or pins and needles after a while of driving? Well, that is because you were seated in a position that prevented adequate blood flow to your lower extremities. An additional tip here is to recline your backrest so that it is at a 100-degree angle. This will help raise your knees and decrease pressure on your lower back.
3. Check if you can reach the pedals
Once you are seated in a comfortable position, with your back against the seat and knees higher than your hips, you’ll need to be at the right distance from the steering wheel. Check first if your feet can reach the pedals and press them down fully. Your knees should be bent at all times to ensure that the joints can constantly move to promote blood flow.
4. Holding your steering wheel at a “9 and 3” position
With the seating arrangements and distance from the pedals all set, your next step would be to reach out to the steering wheel with your arms. Have your arms out in front just below your shoulder height and grip fully but not tightly. If you have trouble reaching then consider getting a car seat cushion to bump up your height. You should be able to turn the wheel 45 degrees left or right, without leaning across or turning your spine. Your loose grip will ensure that you can steer with ease and not feel tense.
5. Adjust your mirrors
Before you get all comfortable, the mirrors are the next things you need to consider. Remember that your side mirrors allow you to see if there are any cars adjacent to the car and the rear mirror gives you a view of the back. Both types are important when driving and you must have a clear line of sight, whatever your posture.
When looking out into your side mirrors, you shouldn’t have to turn your head completely. Firstly, turning your head often to look into the mirrors will distract you from what’s in front of the vehicle. The advice here is to use your eyes to glance left or right, with your head turning ever so slightly. This helps ensure your head is always facing in the forward direction and reduces any neck strain.
6. Ensure your seat belt is secured across your pelvis
Last but not least, you should have your seat belt strapped across your pelvis. Ensure that the belt isn’t pressing hard on any loose clothing as this may make you feel uncomfortable during your drive and put pressure on your chest or stomach.
What other things can I do to support my posture?
Sometimes getting in the right posture just isn’t enough and you may need additional solutions to help you get comfortable and drive safely on Hong Kong’s roads. Here are some additional things you can do to supplement the aforementioned steps:
1. Take breaks
All drivers, regardless if you are a newly licensed or experienced driver, need a break. Fatigue will inevitably set in, especially if you are driving for long periods. Be smart and sensible when on Hong Kong’s roads and listen to your body. Take regular breaks by parking somewhere safe at designated parking spots, drinking some fluids, and doing some stretching. This will help you feel more alert and ready to continue the journey once ready.
2. Stretch - do yoga or pilates
Stretching can be done at any time and anywhere. The older you get, the more likely you are to suffer from fatigue or aches and pains when in the car. Invest time in strengthening your core muscle groups by enlisting yourself into a yoga or pilates class. There are many online videos that you can check out to help guide you at home or at work before you head off to your car.
3. Purchase a lumbar back support for your car seat
Many lumbar supports can be purchased that support your back and help you maintain a healthy posture when you drive. The curved design of lumbar supports typically follows the natural curve of the spine and helps to fill in any gaps between your back and the car seat
Want more tips?
At Kwiksure, we cover a plethora of topics to do with cars in Hong Kong, and as a brokerage firm for many insurance plans, we are likely to have the right insurance solutions for you. We are known in Hong Kong for providing car insurance plans that encompass many benefits such as inclusive coverage, reliable service, low premiums, personalized quotes, and a true perspective of the car industry in Hong Kong.
Our blog page has many topics related to driving and car insurance for newly-licensed drivers and those that have many years of experience, so be sure to check them out too.
For more informative tips or information on driving in Hong Kong, feel free to contact us today!