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10 ergonomic tips for comfortable driving in the car

We often take long journeys by car. These journeys ensure that we sit in the same position for a long time in addition to our daily desk work, which can lead to fatigue, heavy legs, back pain and loss of concentration . We would like to avoid these problems before we start a relaxing holiday.

Here are some tips to tackle these problems and travel comfortably and relaxed in the car:

1. Car seat height
Make sure your hips are higher than your knees. If this is not possible, try to get your knees level with your hips. There should be at least a fist space between your head and the roof of the car. If your chair is not high enough, use a seat cushion to sit higher.


2. Distance to handlebars
When stretching the arms at shoulder height, the handlebars should be at the level of the wrist. Do not set the handlebars too high, so that the arms remain below shoulder height. Possible armrests can help to relax the posture even more.


3. Distance from pedals
Preferably there is a slight bend in the knee when fully pressing the pedals. When your legs are stretched or bent too much, this puts extra strain on the knee joint. Keep a fist space between the back of your knee and the seat of the chair.


4. Backrest
The backrest should provide the best support up to shoulder height. The degree of inclination of the backrest in relation to the seat can vary between 90° and 120°, but try to change this regularly. If the car seat is equipped with adjustable lumbar support, make sure that the pressure is just above the waistband and provides support at the pelvis. The degree to which it exerts more or less pressure can be personally adjusted to your own comfort.


5. Headrest
A headrest is not used while driving. However, a headrest does play an important role in the prevention of whiplash in the event of an accident. Adjust the headrest so that the top of the support is level with the crown of the head. Try to keep the distance between the head and the headrest as small as possible.


6. Mirrors
To get a good picture of your surroundings while driving, it is best to position the mirrors as follows:
Side mirrors – one third sky / two thirds ground
Rear view mirror – align the left side of the mirror with the left and bottom of the rear window.


7. Feet
Make sure your feet are firmly on the pedals. Your right foot rests relaxed on the accelerator pedal and your left foot finds good support on the footrest to the left of the pedals. This reduces the strain on your back and pelvis.


8. Take breaks
As with desk work, it is important to take regular breaks and interrupt prolonged sitting. Stop regularly, stretch your legs and take a short walk. This offers many benefits for your health.


9. Exercise while driving
You can do some light exercises while riding, such as rolling your shoulders, moving your head from ear to shoulder, moving your chin up and down, and moving your ankles. Do this safely and always stay alert on the road.


10. Correct way of getting in and out
When getting in, stand with your back to the car, take a seat on the seat and then turn into the car at the same time as you move your legs in. When you get out, turn on the seat and take your legs with you, lean on the door and stand upright with support. This way you avoid unnecessary tension and strain on your body and you can get in and out of the car comfortably.


Have a nice ride and holiday!


Still having trouble in the car or a bad car seat? We offer some tools that can resolve your complaints:

Source: Verv, Flemish ergonomics association

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