Driving a car isn’t simply popping your backside casually into a seat and twiddling the wheel from there. There actually is a right way to adjust your seat for maximum comfort, control and safety.
Recently, Jaguar enlisted the help of its Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steve Iley, to create a video guide of the perfect driving position. Obviously, this position is only feasible if your car seat is flexible in its adjustment options, but thankfully most modern cars are good about that.
First, you’re supposed to take everything out of your pockets, as “bulky items affect sitting position.” As a woman who wears lady pants that often have embarrassingly tiny pockets or no pockets at all, this step isn’t an problem for me.
Then, you have to push your butt as close to the back of the seat as possible. I’ve never seen anyone driving at literally the edge of their seat, but the world is a big place and anything is possible.
Have all of your back in contact with the backrest. I know sometimes it feels natural to lean forward, but keep your back, well, back. Once your back is in position, adjust the recline so that your pelvis and spine are straight. I have to admit that I have back issues so I tend to drive in a slightly more reclined position, but I shall correct this.
Thighs should be resting comfortably on the seat.
You distance from the pedals should be measured by the bend of your knees. Jaguar recommends that your knee should be slightly bent when the pedals are fully down. Another way to measure this that I was taught in driving school is to place your foot flat behind the pedal. If your knees is slightly bent from that, then you’re good.
The reason for this is because you want to maintain control of your feet and the pedals. Having your knee fully extended is not conducive to that.
The same goes for your elbows. Your elbows should be slightly bent when reaching for the wheel. You can also measure this by sliding your hands along the wheel, acting like you’re about to make a hand-over-hand turn. The furthest you’ll need to reach is when you perform one of these. Are your elbows still slightly bent? Then you good!
Jaguar also notes that your shoulders should be touching the seat always, even when you’re turning the wheel. I am having trouble imagining anyone’s shoulders leaving the seat during a turn, so this one is pretty basic to keep in mind.
Lastly, the headrest should be at the same height as the top of your head. As a short person, this is oftentimes impossible for me, so I’d say do your best with this one.
You can check out the full video below.