Picking a comfortable driving position is obviously a very personal thing with a ton of variables. How tall are you? How long are your arms and legs? How long is your torso vs your legs? What is your car? How is the visibility out of the vehicle and what kind of safety systems does it have?
Seat position is one of those things that kind of gets short shrift in driver’s ed classes or when being taught to drive by friends or family. I mean, it’s just sitting in a car, right? Surely how to work the pedals and wheel, etc., is much more important? Well, ask any racer – any real racer – and they’ll tell you that how you sit in relation to your controls is critical and goes beyond just reaching everything. That’s why it’s rad that the fellas from Mighty Car Mods did ask a real racer to break down some of the most important aspects of seating position, and the video they made is wicked helpful.
Some of the most important takeaways from the video are that you need to give yourself some bend. You don’t want your arms or legs fully extended and locked at any time. This can lead to the force from an impact bypassing the steering wheel airbag and going straight into your joints, resulting in a predictably bad time. Also key is that if you have plenty of bend in your limbs, you can do things like turn the wheel a whole bunch without needing to let go of it, which is a plus on the track.
Also key is keeping your hands level with your shoulders when they’re at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock on the wheel. This means having the steering wheel as high up as is feasible for your body type. This ties in with getting as low as you can in the car. If you’re tall, this can be a problem; otherwise, ratchet your height-adjustable seat to suit. If you don’t have height adjustment, then, as the great Flava Flav once said, “I can’t do nothin’ for you, man.” Next, try and get your seat back as vertical as possible; this improves your leverage on the controls and makes it easier to brace yourself in the seat during high-g maneuvers or emergency stops.
Go out to your car, check your position, and see if (once it gets over feeling weird) a new position more closely following these guidelines isn’t ultimately more comfortable and offers better control.