Use these quick tips to optimize comfort and minimize stress and fatigue when you drive.
Get extra support
The seats of some vehicles simply aren’t built to provide the optimal driving posture for every driver. Depending on your build and shape, you may need to augment seat adjustment features by adding some supports.
- Use a seat cushion to increase seating height.
- Lumbar supports are designed to help drivers maintain proper driving posture, relax tension on the spine and reduce muscle fatigue especially during long trips. They are available in a variety of shapes (D-shaped, round, oval), designs (ventilated and non-ventilated) and fabrics (leather, mesh, synthetics, cotton).
Steering wheel grip
The steering wheel is the primary means used to direct the vehicle. How you grip the wheel influences how well you can control the vehicle. Plus, the proper grip reduces the risk that you’ll be injured if the air bag deploys during a crash. The grips recommended most often are:
- Left hand at 10 o’clock position and right hand at 2 o’clock, or
- Left hand at 9 o’clock and right hand at 3 o’clock.
Maximize comfort and manage stress while you drive
Reduce tension by varying your seating position. Once you’ve established your optimal seating position, there’s still room to shift your weight from side to side and adjust your posture to keep comfortable.
Do a few mini-exercises while you’re stopped at a traffic light or construction delay. Develop a routine of tightening and relaxing your feet, ankle, thigh, core, shoulder, arm and neck muscles when it is safe to do so.
While your vehicle is stopped - and in park – have a quick stretch. Extend your legs, reach behind the seat and stretch your shoulders, roll your neck a few times, etc.
Try a little variety
Adjust your schedule to alternate between long distance drives and short distance trips if you can. This helps manage monotony, fatigue and complacency.
Take breaks from driving every 2 hours
You’ve probably already adopted the practice of taking regular breaks from sitting in the office. Apply the same habit and take regular breaks from driving. Some sources suggest breaks as often as every 20 minutes. If that’s not practical, you should stop for a break at least once every two (2) hours.
Pull over in a safe place, get out, walk around, do a few stretches, check the tires, take a bio-break, answer texts and make calls. It takes only five to ten minutes but it can help prevent a lifetime of neck, back, shoulder and other discomforts.