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Driver with back pain in car seat from driving long journey in teh wrong seat position

Properly setting up your car seat can greatly minimise back pain caused by driving. 

Do you travel long hours in your car for business or pleasure?  Do you find you get back pain while driving?  Prolonged periods spent in the same position, gripping the steering wheel and being subjected to vibration from the road, can all contribute to day-to-day wear and tear on your back.  So if you want to help yourself, you really need to take a close look at the position of your seat.

I recently read an article in the Costco Connection magazine by freelance journalist Rachel Hallewell, about preventing back pain by positioning your car seat correctly can prevent back and neck pain caused by driving and realised that this was a really important subject to share with you all.

When you buy a new car, or a used car, you need to make sure you get the seating position right for you.

All of us are individuals and unique in our stance, gait and so much more. So getting your unique driving position right is essential in increasing your enjoyment of your vehicle. I’m not an expert in ergonomics, so thank you Costco and Dr Diane Gyi for this fabulously useful information.

Senior lecturer in ergonomics at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, Dr Diane Gyi says in the Costco article:

“Getting your [seat] position right can make all the difference. Investing a few minutes in that can really help reduce the strain of driving on your body, particularly when making long business or recreational journeys.”



So what are the 7 Simple Steps to Stop Driving Back Pain?


Gyi says you should start by getting the seat into the initial set-up position. “That ideally means having your steering wheel fully up and fully forward, with the seat height at its lowest position, the back rest approximately 30 degrees reclined from vertical, with the seat fully rear wards,” she explains. in addition, any lumbar support should be set flat so you can take the following steps to properly adjust your seat.

      1. Raise the seat as high as is comfortable to provide the maximum view of the road.
      2. move the seat forward until you can easily fully depress the clutch, accelerator and brake pedals, further adjusting the seat height as necessary for good pedal control.
      3. Adjust the cushion tilt angle so that your thighs are supported along the length of the cushion, avoiding pressure behind the knees.
      4. Move the backrest so it provide as continuous support along the length of your back and is in contact up to shoulder height. Avoid reclining the seat too far (the boy racer look is not a great position for your body!) which can cause excessive forward bending of the head and neck.
      5. Set any lumber support to give even pressure along the length of the backrest, ensuring it comfortably fits your back.
      6. Raise the head restraint so it’s as high as the top of your head and as close to the rear of your head as possible, to avoid whiplash injuries.
      7. Move the steering wheel rear wards and downwards for easy reach, making sure the panel display is in full view and not obstructed.

“Not all cars are designed to allow you this much flexibility of driving posture, so work with what you’ve got,” Gyi adds. “And while there’s clear science behind how you should sit, we all have different-shaped and -sized bodies, so you must also listen to your own body – it will tell you if it’s uncomfortable, and you can tweak you’re position accordingly”.

All of these points are worth considering when you come in and take a test drive in any of our used cars for sale at our showroom in Warwick. We pride ourselves on a no hassle car buying experience, allowing you as much time as it takes to make the right decision for you, after all, other than buying a home, buying a car is possibly the next largest purchase you’ll make. Remember, a test drive is not just about the performance of the car itself, but about how happy and comfortable you are in it too. 

Sit well and just drive 😉


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