By Brian Acton
Good posture has benefits for many aspects of your life: it can reduce neck and back pain, increase lung capacity, improve digestion, and even make you feel more confident. It’s important to practice good posture at all times, including while you’re sitting down.
This doesn’t just apply to sitting at your work computer or sitting at home on the couch. It includes your driving posture as well. But people often hunch toward the steering wheel or lean too far back in their seats, which can lead to neck and back problems.
Here’s how to practice good posture while driving.
- Sit with Your Knees at Hip Level
It’s important to sit with your knees at the same elevation as your hips, the way you’d want to sit in a chair (although for obvious reasons, your feet may not be planted flat on the floor). When you get into your car, check your knee and hip position to make sure they’re on the same level.
- Get Proper Back Support
It’s important to support your lower back when sitting. If you don’t get enough back support, you’ll be putting a lot of extra stress on soft tissue and the joints in your spine, which can cause back pain.
Modern car seats often have a built-in lumbar support mechanism that you may not even be aware you have - look for an additional switch on your driver’s seat. Pushing the switch will adjust the amount of support the car seat provides to your lower back, and you can adjust it until your back is fully supported.
If your car doesn’t have good lumbar support, you can use a rolled up towel or buy a lumbar support that fits most standard car seats.
- Sit Up Straight
Drivers should sit upright. Avoid hunching toward the steering wheel, which can lead to neck problems and increase the risk of injury if your car’s airbag is deployed. You should also avoid leaning back too far and reaching for the steering wheel, which can put extra pressure on the spine.
To encourage sitting up straight, keep your car seat at a reasonable distance from the steering wheel. Depending on your height and body type, drivers should try to keep about ten to twelve inches between the steering wheel and the breastbone.
If your steering wheel is too high or too low, use the lever on the side to adjust the wheel to the proper height.