How to improve driving comfort with the right steering wheel and correct driving posture
Driving a car is a necessity for many people, but it can also be a source of stress and discomfort. One of the factors that affects your driving comfort is the steering wheel. The steering wheel is the main way you communicate with your car and control its movements. Therefore, it is important that you have a steering wheel that suits you and your car.
- Choose the right size and shape
The size and shape of the steering wheel can make a big difference in how comfortable and easy it is to steer your car. A steering wheel that is too big, too small or too thick can cause fatigue, strain, or poor grip. A steering wheel that is too round or too flat can also affect your driving posture, grip while turning as well as visibility.
The ideal size and shape of the steering wheel depend on your personal preference, your car model, and your driving style. Generally, you should look for a steering wheel that:
- Fits comfortably in your hands and allows you to grip it firmly without squeezing or stretching
- Allows you to see the dashboard and the road clearly without blocking your view
- Matches the size and shape of your original steering wheel and is compatible with your car's airbag system, upgrading to a sportier steering wheel will sometime require new matching airbag
- Has a diameter of about 14 to 16 inches (35 to 40 cm) for most cars¹
- Adjust the steering wheel position
Once you have chosen the right steering wheel for your car, you should adjust its position to suit your height and reach. A steering wheel that is too high or too low, or too close or too far from you, can cause discomfort, pain, as well as decrease in control of the vehicle.
To adjust the steering wheel position, you should:
- Sit in your driver's seat and buckle up
- Adjust your seat position so that you are comfortable and can reach the pedals easily
- Adjust the backrest so that it’s reclined at about a 100 degree angle. Sitting reclined at this angle will decrease pressure on your lower back so you’re more comfortable³
- If your steering wheel is adjustable, make sure you can reach it easily and that it doesn't obstruct your view of anything vital on the dashboard
- Adjust the head restraint so that it’s as high as the top of your head and as close to the rear of your head as possible to avoid whiplash injuries¹
- Hold the steering wheel with both hands at the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions. Your elbows should be slightly bent and relaxed²
- Make sure there is at least 10 inches (25 cm) of space between your chest and the center of the steering wheel to allow room for the airbag to deploy¹
- Maintain a good driving posture
Having a good driving posture is essential for your driving comfort and safety. A good driving posture can help you avoid fatigue, pain, or injury, as well as improve your visibility and control.
To maintain a good driving posture, you should:
- Sit upright and avoid slouching or leaning to one side
- Keep your head up and look ahead at the road
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid shrugging or hunching them
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing them or resting them on the pedals
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel and avoid resting them on the window or gear shift
- Change your position slightly every now and then to avoid stiffness or cramps
- Take breaks and stretch
Driving for long periods of time can take a toll on your body and mind. It can cause muscle tension, joint pain, eye strain, or mental fatigue. To prevent these problems and improve your driving comfort, you should take regular breaks and stretch.
- Stop every two hours or 100 miles (160 km) for at least 15 minutes¹
- Get out of your car and walk around to improve blood circulation
- Stretch your neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, and feet to relieve tension and stiffness
- Drink water and eat healthy snacks to stay hydrated and energized
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, or sugary drinks that can impair your driving ability or cause dehydration
By following these tips, you can improve your driving comfort with the right steering wheel and enjoy a smoother and safer ride.
(1) Ergonomic driving guide: Are you sitting comfortably? - RAC. https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/driving-advice/ergonomic-driving-guide-are-you-sitting-comfortably/.
(2) How to Adjust Seating to the Proper Position While Driving - wikiHow. https://www.wikihow.com/Adjust-Seating-to-the-Proper-Position-While-Driving.
(3) Right Driving Position (Seating) for Comfort and Safety - YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeUuLzcW7G8.
(4) How to Make Your Car Driver's Seat More Comfortable. https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-make-your-car-driver-s-seat-more-comfortable-by-parker-hill