How to Prevent Long Term Injury From Driving

Internal view of vehicle from passenger side of vehicle at the steering wheel and seat settings for good posture.

Learn how to help your favorite driver avoid repetitive driving injury.

Taking good care of your vehicle makes a lot of sense, especially as the weather turns colder and wetter and the days darken and get shorter. And most people do a pretty good job of basic maintenance, scoring on average a 76 out of 100 on performing routine maintenance items on time, according to the Toco Car Maintenance Survey and Index of 2015. Take good care of your car and your car will take good care of you.

But there’s another factor at play in helping to ensure safety: you, the driver. In something known as “Repetitive Driving Injury,” drivers can develop long term joint, muscle and spinal injuries simply because they do not properly adjust their posture. How well you take care of yourself in the car, by improving driver posture and comfort, is a factor in reducing driver stress and fatigue. Here are 5 basic tips to ensure better driver posture and comfort.

  1. Of course, your basic position must enable you to fully and clearly see the road, your mirrors and instruments.
  2. Adjust your seat bottom so that your knees are not much higher than your hips. The seat cushion should evenly support your entire thigh without pressure. Do not sit on your wallet.
  3. Move your seat forward or back so that you can completely depress the pedals without coming away from the seat back.
  4. Adjust the seat back so that you are reclined just slightly more than vertical, at an angle of 100-110 degrees.
  5. Minimize reach by bringing the steering wheel down and toward you, 18-24 inches from your chest, and relax your shoulder muscles by holding the wheel lower at the 9 and 3 o’clock position, rather than 10 and 2 o’clock.

Need some extra help here and there, or just want to get even more comfortable? There are a number of products available that are designed to help relieve stress and reduce pressure points: massaging heated seat cushions, lumbar back supports, memory foam seat cushions, arm rests and steering wheel covers.

To further protect yourself, take breaks every couple of hours to stretch. To further protect your peace of mind, a vehicle service contract can help ease the financial burden of unexpected covered car repair bills. For an affordable monthly fee, you can help keep your budget intact.