We hope that you love a good road trip adventure and that you find your car comfortable and never experience any problems. If you do you may be in a minority, however, and it is worth taking a look at some of the pitfalls. For your safety and the safety of your passengers.
With back pain being the number 2 reason why we visit our GPs and costing the NHS £1.3Million per day, it is not surprising to see that over 60% of drivers in a survey commissioned by AutoExpress magazine agreed with the statement ‘my car seat can make my back ache worse after a long trip’ and maybe more importantly, over 40% of drivers said that the car seat was the main cause of their backache.
A poor driving position can alter the way you wear the seat belt, reducing its effectiveness while an uncomfortable car seat can also lead to driver distraction and loss of concentration.
6 tips to help improve your comfort and safety while driving.
1 Make sure that your car seat is not too far away from the pedals. When you fully depress the clutch your legs should remain slightly bent. Start by making very small changes to your position this will help you to adapt to a position that may at first feel wrong due to bad habits.
2 Make sure that your backrest is not tilted back too far. Your elbows should be slightly bent when you position your hands correctly on the steering wheel in the ‘10 to 2 position’. Modern cars normally have movable steering wheels that you can adapt to your precise needs.
3. Make sure that you increase the lumbar support as much as possible to support the natural arch in your back to avoid slouching. If you do not have a lumbar support built-in, you can use a portable, dedicated lumbar support cushion or roll up a towel and put it behind your back.
4. Make sure that the top of your headrest is above the top of your ears. If it is too low it can increase the risk of neck injuries in case of an accident. It is also worth remembering that the back of your head should be close to (or touching) the headrest. If the worst should happen, this will help prevent whiplash.
5. Now, stretch yourself up and make your spine as tall as possible sitting in an ideal posture. Set the rearview mirror so you can just about see the traffic behind you. This will help to correct your posture every time you look in your rearview mirror, because if you slouch you will not be able to use the rearview mirror.
6. Make sure that your seatbelt is correctly positioned. If possible, adjust the height so it is not sitting on your neck and according to the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the belt should be worn as tight as possible, with no slack and the lap belt should go over the pelvic region, not the stomach.
If you find that making simple adjustments isn’t helping and you are concerned about your back or neck please give us a call. We are always happy to get to the bottom of these issues with you. Clinically it is very common that driving is an aggravator of pain so we chiropractors really do spend a lot of time thinking about it!
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