18 Jun Ergo Tips for the Road
When was the last time you thought about your ergonomics when you drove your car? If you are like the rest of us, you probably think about your ergonomics every single time you get in your car, but think of it as adjusting your seat, steering wheel and mirrors, fastening your seat belt and the normal things that we do before turning the ignition on. While these things are all necessary for your safety, they also are helping you to get comfortable behind the wheel.
But if you commute regularly for work, travel long distances or if driving is part of your work, you may have experienced some discomfort and fatigue. These ergo tips will help you go a long way (literally) to feeling great on the road.
- Adjust Your Seat: Start with adjusting your seat height so that you have a clear view of the road. You also want to adjust the distance of your seat so that your feet comfortably reach the pedals and your arms don’t have to stretch forward to reach the steering wheel. If your seat feels too hard or is putting pressure on the back of your thighs, coccyx (tail) bone, or if you are struggling with sciatica, you can try using a seat wedge.
- Support Your Back: If your car has adjustable lumbar support, make sure that the lumbar area of your back is well supported and that your seat is slightly reclined. If needed, you can use a portable travel pillow like this which you can use as lumbar support or if positioned vertically, can provide you with spinal support. This can be especially helpful if your car seat is “bucket” like which may cause you to round your back.
- Adjust Your Head Rest: Take a moment to position your headrest so that it supports the middle of your head. Position it so that your head is not pushed forward, but rather aligned directly over your neck and back.
- Position Your Mirrors: Position your mirrors so that you can easily view without having to turn your head and neck to see. Keep them clean.
- Position Your Steering Wheel: It is important to position your steering wheel so that you are at a safe distance (no less than 10″ between the steering wheel and your breast bone) – to protect you from your airbag should it deploy. However, it is also important to position your wheel (or your seat) to avoid overreaching your upper arms. The more your upper arms are able to hang, the more comfortable you will be during long drives. You can try putting your hands in a “9:00 and 3:00 position.”
- Keep Your Windshield and Windows Clean: It is important to keep your windshields and mirrors clean. This avoids glare which in turn can compromise your posture and also makes sure you have a clear vision of the road and your surroundings at all times.
- No Texting and Driving: Under no circumstance should you ever text while driving. It is against the law and can be lethal for you and for others on the road. Don’t do it.
- Hands Free: It is also the law to be hands-free when using your phone.
- Laptops in Your Car: You should NEVER attempt to use your laptop or tablet (or phone) when driving. However, if you have to use your laptop or tablet in your car when you are NOT driving, it is best to use it in passenger seat or back seat where there is room to use a lapdesk.
- Stay Alert: Please avoid driving when you are fatigued. If needed, pull over to the side of the road and rest until you are alert enough to drive safely. It is also a great practice when driving for a long time, to take a break at least once an hour. This means, getting out of the car, walking around, stretching and hydrating.
What is your strategy to stay comfortable while driving?
Until the next time!