Driving Posture

Learning to driveGood driving posture is important

Our bodies are designed to move. Muscles act like sponges; squeezing out blood when they contract and absorbing blood when they relax. This pumping action helps the circulation in and around the muscles. Static postures such as driving compromises this action. Muscles are often placed in a tensioned position but neither shorten or lengthen (known as isometric contraction). This leads to postural fatigue of the muscles and causes symptoms such as achiness and stiffness, particularly of the back and trunk muscles.

Strategies that can be employed to avoid or reduce postural fatigue

Take regular breaks, perhaps 5 minutes for every 30 minutes that you drive. Get out of the car and gently move your trunk from side to side and extend backwards.

Whilst driving, try to fidget every few minutes. Moving a little is much better than not moving at all and will at least give your muscles a brief respite.

Try and maintain a generally symmetrical position while you drive. A common bad habit is to have the accelerator leg rolled outward which places pressure on the hip and lower spine. The car seat should be firm and well-contoured to suit your body shape. Cloth/fabric seats tend to give better support to your back than leather or vinyl covers and enables the driver to maintain the correct posture while driving.

Where possible try and share the driving with a colleague. Make sure you adjust the seating to ensure a good driving position using our Step by Step driving position guide.

Step-by-step driving position guide

Adjust the seat and steering wheel as follows:

  • Raise the seat so that your head is a hands width from the roof of the car.
  • Move the seat forwards so that you can fully depress the brake and clutch pedals but still have a slight bend in the knee at their most lengthened position.
  • Tilt the angle of the seat base so it supports your thighs along the length of the cushion.
  • Slightly recline the seat back position as this provides more support to the whole of the back.
  • Adjust the lumbar support to fill the natural curve of the lower back.
  • Adjust the steering wheel so that your elbows are slightly bent when the hands are placed at the ’10 to 2’ position. Ensure you can see the dash dials when you’re in the correct seating position.
  • Align the height of the head rest so that the top is level with the top of your head.
  • Make sure that your side and rear view mirrors are reset with this new seated posture.