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How to Adjust Your Driver’s Seat to be Ergonomic

Man adjusting drives car seat to show proper seat ergonomics

Read the vehicle manual and understand all the adjustments that you can do (e.g., seat position, backrest angle, headrest position, steering wheel height and tilt, seat belt, mirrors). Common adjustments include:

1. Seat height - raise the seat as high as you can but still be comfortable. This height will optimize your vision through the windows. You should be able to see at least 76 mm (3 in) over the top of the steering wheel. Ensure that you have sufficient room between the roof and the top of your head. Adjust the mirrors after you have finished setting the other features.

2. Seat cushion length, if possible - adjust the seat length so that the back of your knees is about 3 - 6 cm (about 1-1/4 to 2-3/8 in) from the front on the seat.

3. Seat forward/back position - move the seat forward until you can easily push the pedals through their full range with your whole foot, not just your toes. You may have to readjust the seat height to get better control of the pedals.

4. Seat cushion angle - tilt the seat cushion until your thighs are supported along the full length of the cushion without there being pressure at the back of your knees.

5. Seat backrest - adjust the backrest until it supports the full length of your back when you are sitting upright. If you are leaning too far back, you may end up bending your head and neck forward, which may cause muscle fatigue, neck or shoulder pain, tingling in the fingers, etc.

6. Lumbar support - adjust the lumbar support up-and-down and in-and-out until you feel an even pressure along your back from the hips to shoulder height. At this point, the seatback should feel comfortable and there should be no gaps or pressure points in the back support area.

7. Steering wheel - adjust the steering wheel for height or tilt and pull it back for easy reach. The centre of the steering wheel should be about 25 - 30 cm (10 - 12 in) from the driver's breastbone. The closer you are to the airbag, the higher the possibility of injury if the airbag deploys, even if you are wearing a seat belt.

If your steering wheel can be tilted up-and-down, tilt it so the airbag behind the centre of the steering wheel is pointing to your chest, not your head and neck or your stomach. In addition, your arms should be in a comfortable position (not too high or too low).

8. Head restraint (headrest) - while sitting, raise the head restraint until the top of it is level with the top of your head. If the head restraint can be tilted, adjust the angle of the head restraint until is practically touching the back of your head when you are in your sitting posture.

9. Fine-tuning - you may have to go through steps 1 - 8 again if you need to optimize the way that vehicle cab fits you. You should be able to reach and operate all of the controls, pedals, the steering wheel, etc., and have good visibility through the windows and mirrors.

By taking the time to properly adjust your seat settings, you’ll reduce the chances of neck and back pain. Many of the newer cars have seat memory, so you only have to create your settings once and then you’ll ride easy and comfortably.

Credit: CCOH


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