How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

Driving with your seat adjusted properly will make you more comfortable and safe. There are different ways you can adjust your seat, like moving it toward or away from the steering wheel, changing the incline of the backrest, and moving the headrest up and down. Once your seat is adjusted for comfort and safety, make sure you’re sitting in it correctly. Remember to always wear your seat belt!

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Edit Using Your Seat Controls

  1. Slide your seat until your knees are slightly bent when you’re pressing the gas. Move your seat forward if your legs are completely extended when you press the gas pedal. Move your seat back if your legs are bent too much. Keeping your knees slightly bent while you drive will prevent knee pain. [1]
  • If your car doesn’t have a control to adjust the seat height, sit on a cushion to help keep your hips level with your knees. Make sure you’re not elevated too much or you’ll have to bend down to look out the windshield or windows.
  • If your seat doesn’t have lumbar support, roll up a towel and put it in the curve of your back while you’re driving.
  • You can also buy an attachable foam support to use in place of lumbar support if your seat doesn’t have it.

Edit Sitting in Your Seat Properly

  1. Sit with your body all the way back in your seat. Your back should be pressed against the backrest, and your bottom should be as far back in your seat as possible. Avoid driving with your body scooched forward; if you can’t reach the pedals or steering wheel, adjust your seat, not your body. [8]
  • Always drive with both hands on the wheel. Driving with one hand twists your spine, which can lead to back pain. [10]

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How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

Ever glanced at the driver next to you while stopped at the light and can barely seem them because they’ve reclined their seat so far back they’re barely visible? And then you wonder how they can possible see over their dashboard? Can’t possibly be safe, right? Well it’s not, and is in fact a dangerous driving habit.

We’ve put together some tips in order to help you properly adjust your car seat while driving. Just do the following:

  1. Position yourself correctly in the seat. That means sit straight with you rear and back completely against the seat. Don’t leave any unnecessary gaps. This will help avoid backaches and possible back injuries.
  1. Adjust your seat distance. First, press the brake pedal fully. The distance while pressed down should allow for your knee to remain slightly bent (about 120 degrees). If needed, move your seat backward or forward for proper distance.
  1. Adjust the angle of your seat. The seat should allow for you to be as parallel as possible to the steering wheel. It is impossible to get a perfect angle, but an upright angle of about 110-95 degrees should be good.
  1. Adjust the steering wheel height. If possible to adjust, the steering height should be angled so it is parallel to your back. Also make sure it is far enough down to allow for a clear view of the dashboard through the rim. Ideally, your hands should be on the wheel at 9 and 3, with your palms just lower than your shoulders.
  1. Adjust the steering distance. Again, if possible the steering wheel should be adjusted with the height as parallel to the back as possible. When gripping the wheel, your elbows should be bent at about 120 degrees. At a minimum, there should be about 10 inches between the center of the steering wheel and the base of your breastbone. It should also not be farther than 18 inches from you.
  1. Adjust your seat height. Do so in order to have a clear view over the dashboard. In most vehicles, the proper height should allow you to place five fingers between your head and the ceiling pf the car.
  1. Adjust the head restraints. Make sure the headrest is at a height just above your eyelids, and as close to your head as possible (2-3 cm). When a headrest is further away it increases the risk of whiplash.
  1. Wear your seatbelt. Make sure to adjust the lap belt as tightly as possible over the waist. Remember, seatbelts save lives.

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The importance of sitting correctly while driving cannot be overstated. Maintaining a proper sitting position will afford you maximum control over the vehicle and will minimize the chance of being injured or killed during a collision. Modern vehicles are engineered with sophisticated safety features, which are designed to be effective in collision scenarios where the driver is sat up straight, positioned high enough to see over the steering wheel, and is squarely in front of it. If you do not maintain this position while driving, your vehicle’s safety features may not be able to protect you.

Seat height

While sat back in the driver’s seat, your shoulders should never be more than one inch lower than the top of the steering wheel. Sitting too low in relation to the steering wheel will restrict your view of the road and increase the risk of sustaining fatal head injuries during a collision.

Most vehicles have height-adjustable seats and/or adjustable steering columns to help you position yourself at the right height relative to the steering wheel. If your vehicle does not have either of these features and the wheel is more than one inch higher than the top of your shoulders, you may need to sit on a wedge-shaped driver’s cushion to achieve a safe position.

Distance from the steering wheel

Sitting too close to the steering wheel will increase your risk of injury should the airbag deploy during a crash. Being too far away can also be dangerous, as it may hinder your ability to steer effectively and control the vehicle. To position yourself at the correct distance from the steering wheel, sit back in the driver’s seat and extend your arm straight forward, toward the wheel. You should then adjust the wheel or seat position until your wrist is lined-up with the top of the steering wheel.

Adjusting the driver’s seat

Never attempt to adjust the driver’s seat height or distance from the pedals while actively driving the vehicle. Most modern vehicles are designed with electronic controls to make it easy for drivers to alter their seat position. Older vehicles tend to have manual levers that are fixed to the front or side of the seat itself.

However your car’s seat adjustment controls work, always make sure you are safely stopped before making any changes. While the vehicle is in motion, you must be fully focused on scanning for hazards and controlling the car. You will not be able to do this effectively if you are also messing with the position of your seat. Plus, you run the risk of inadvertently moving too far away from the pedals and losing control of the vehicle.

Adjusting the headrests

When correctly positioned, the driver’s seat headrest will support your head in the event of a rear-end collision. Whiplash neck injuries are common in rear-end collisions, as the vehicle occupants’ heads are thrown backward with considerable force when the car is struck from behind. Having your headrest at the correct height will minimize the chances of such injuries occurring.

The front surface of the headrest must be in contact with the back of your head in order to support it correctly; your headrest is too low if it only connects with the base of your skull. For ideal positioning, aim to set the top of the headrest at roughly the same height as your ears.

Make proper positioning a habit

It’s all too easy to get lazy with your sitting position as you gain more experience as a driver. Remember that you are always at risk of being injured if you are not sat correctly, whether you have been driving for ten minutes or ten years. As you learn to drive, take a moment to check your position every time you get into the car. This will help you to form solid safety habits that will continue to protect you for years to come.

Whether you drive for a living or once in a while, having the right driving posture is pivotal for your health and road safety. Believe it or not, the right driving position can save you from car accidents by ensuring immediate reflex. Hence, it is essential to know the best way to sit in a car.

How to Achieve the Right Driving Posture

By following these suggestions, one can ensure the proper driving position.

Get the Right Height

Sitting right is compulsory for the correct driving position posture. For the ideal height, make sure that the eye level is 8 cm above the top of the steering wheel.

Sitting at the perfect height means drivers will be able to see the road without moving their heads in an uncomfortable position. At the same time, check if the speedometer and other instruments are visible. Be careful not to hit the roof with the head.

Lean Back on the Seat

While sitting straight is crucial, doing so at a strict 90-degree angle will make the driver feel uncomfortable within a short time. The best way to have a proper car seat position is to recline the seat to 100 to 110 degrees. Do not lean too backward as it can cause neck strain.

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

You need to lean back to the seat. (Source: Pexels / PixaBay)

Knee Position

In a proper driving posture, the driver’s knees have to be on the same level as their hips or higher than the hips. Usually, 20 to 30 degrees of an upward angle is sufficient.

Easy access to the pedals is also necessary. The heels should be on the floor in a relaxed manner while the feet balls can press the pedals. Adjust the seat so that one can fully depress the pedals without making their back leaving the seat.

Distance from the Steering Wheel

Between the wheel and the chest, here should be a distance of a minimum of 30 cm. The arms should bend in around 120 degrees.

Gap between Knees and the Seat

It will be ideal if drivers can keep at least a two-finger gap between their knees (the backside) and the seat cushion. If the back of the knees touches the seat, it will cut off the blood circulation.


The right headrest plays a vital role in preventing whiplash. Make necessary adjustments to make it rest in the middle of your head. It will also confirm that the head is not too far forward.

Mirror Position

While fixing the mirror position, the first thing to do is to sit in the most convenient posture. Then, adjust the mirror so that you can see the traffic behind and on the side without moving the neck.

Lumbar Support

Car seats usually come with lumbar support to provide support for the back. One can adjust its depth until it reaches the right size to fill the arch of your back.

Do Not Forget to Take a Break

Taking a break while driving is as significant as the right driving posture. Sitting on the driving seat is similar to sitting on a chair in an office. Hence, experts suggest taking regular breaks while driving. If possible, take a break after every 20 minutes of driving.

Also, don’t drive for more than two hours at a stretch to avoid feeling stiff and other physical disorders. Regular recess with the suggested driving posture will keep the driver relaxed and comfortable. At the same time, it will prevent various physical injuries caused by road accidents.

Additional Tips to Improve Body Posture

These are some other ways to ensure a relaxed and convenient body posture while driving.

  • Start from the beginning. Purchase a vehicle that suits the body dimensions. For someone who is around 6 feet 10 inches tall, a supermini car will be too small to achieve a suitable posture. Also, make sure that the seats are separately adjustable in terms of both angle and height. An adjustable steering wheel and backrest are also necessary for the right posture.
  • Make sure the car allows you to maintain a comfortable position by providing enough space between the edge of the seat and the back of the knees.
  • In case of absence of lumbar support, use a rolled-up towel to put behind the back. Also, do not keep anything in your back pocket to sit comfortably.
  • Sitting for long in the same posture, even if it is a good posture, will cause uneasiness. Hence, try to change driving positions often.
  • Drivers need to use both hands on the steering wheel that often ends up causing To avoid that, change hand positions frequently.


Besides ensuring the safety of cars, the correct driving posture will also improve the driving skills by helping the driver to maneuver more efficiently. Therefore, all drivers should learn how to sit properly in a car and practice it, even if they are driving for a short time.

Ensuring your car is set up correctly for every journey not only provides optimal comfort, it also helps to ensure your journey is a safe one. An optimal driving position will help prevent accidents and improve safety (should an accident occur).

The tips below from NRMA driver training will help you adjust to the proper seating position.

  • Your right heel should be placed on the floor between the accelerator and the brake. Your foot should able to swivel between the accelerator and brake without lifting off the floor.
  • Your left heel should rest on the footrest provided in most vehicles on the left side wall of the foot well. It should be placed here at all times for an automatic vehicle and when not in use for the clutch in a manual vehicle.

Legs and back

  • There should be a slight bend in your knees which not only aids in comfort but also acts as a brace in case of a crash and allows for better absorption of road bumps while driving. Straight legs do not provide the required dexterity required to operate the foot controls correctly.
  • Your backside should be placed towards the back of the seat for support of your lower spine and posture.
  • Move the car seat forward or back to ensure you are not too far away from the foot controls and the steering wheel. You can also move the car seat up and down in most modern vehicles.

Steering wheel

  • Most modern vehicles have numerous adjustments for the steering wheel which is paramount for safe deployment of the airbags. Steering wheels commonly can be adjusted up down and also in and out in telescopic manner.
  • The steering wheel should be lowered as much as possible without blocking your view of instrument information such as speedometer. Ideally it should sit facing towards your chest (not face) with approximately an A4 page distance between you and the middle of steering wheel. Any closer than A4 page length could result in an increased risk of injury in the event of an airbag deployment in a crash.
  • After making the adjustments mentioned above, place both wrists on top of the steering wheel. Your arms should be completely straight. This allows you to have a slight bend in your arms when returning your hands to the normal holding of the steering wheel position. This again helps aid with the correct amount of dexterity for steering and use of auxiliary controls.

Seat belt

  • Low, flat, firm: There should be no twists or knots in the belt. Seat belts are designed to be fitted across the strong points of the skeleton. Low, flat and firm across the hips and shoulder.
  • The seat belt height can be adjusted in most vehicles via a mechanism which slides up and down the inside right pillar of the car. A rule of thumb is for the seat belt adjuster to sit approximately even with your right ear.

Head support

  • Designed to support your head in a sudden impact, and reduce neck injury and whip lash.
  • The middle of the headrest should sit around the rounded position of your skull where it meets your spinal column.

Want to be a safe driver?

The NRMA offers accredited driver training for learners, seniors and corporate.

The ideal driver’s seat position is crucial for improving your high-performance driving. Here’s how to find the perfect position in any car.

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

You look at a vintage photo like this, and you wonder how anyone could drive such a cramped car. Driver TB Andre is positively wedged into his seat at the wheel of his Marlborough I, preparing for the JCC 200 Mile Race at Brooklands back in 1921. It makes you thankful for the roominess of a modern car, where you can roll the seat rearward, recline the seatback, and really stretch out those legs on a long highway journey.

But if you’re about to hit the track, or participate in a rally stage, autocross, or even some high-performance back road driving, you’ll want to adjust your seat to be more in line with Mr. Andre’s angles.

The theory is well known to experienced track day drivers, but it’s worth reiterating to everyone. The proper high-performance seating position boils down to one main theory: You want to be able to easily operate your foot and hand controls to their maximum, without having to reach, push, yank, or invoke your major muscle groups. You should be able to control your car with fingertip steering inputs and subtle foot pressure—even under massive acceleration, threshold braking, or major cornering forces.

Theoretically, that all makes sense. But how do you tailor this general advice to the specific car you’re driving? Allow Wyatt Knox, an instructor at Team O’Neil Rally School, to explain the ins and outs of achieving the proper driving position for street, track, and rally driving for maximum comfort, endurance, and control.

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

Is the position of your driver’s seat putting you in danger? A study has shown that female drivers wearing seat belts are 47% more likely than men to be seriously injured in collisions because of their smaller stature and preferred driving positions.

Airbags can deploy at speeds of up to 200 mph! If you’re too close to the steering wheel during a collision, you could get seriously injured. Sitting in a proper driving position can help you make sure your vehicle’s safety systems are protecting you–not putting you in danger.

If you’re on the petite side, it can seem tough to find a comfortable yet safe driving position, but a few simple adjustments can help you keep a proper distance from the airbag.

How to Adjust Your Driving Position

Here are some tips on proper driving position based on NHTSA recommendations so that you can be safer when you’re behind the wheel. Just remember: the best way to stay safe is to avoid accidents in the first place by being a good defensive driver.

1. Tilt your steering wheel down.

Adjust your steering wheel so it points at your chest, not your head or your neck.

2. Move your seat backward.

Move your seat back as far as you can while still comfortably reaching the pedals. You should be at least 10 inches from the steering wheel, from your breastbone to the center of the wheel.

3. Recline the back of the seat slightly.

If you’re still too close to the steering wheel after moving your seat back, try reclining slightly. If that makes it harder to see the road, try raising your seat or placing a firm non-slippery cushion on the seat. Still closer than 10 inches? You may want to consider pedal extenders.

4. Keep your hands at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock on the steering wheel.

The NHTSA now recommends that all drivers keep their hands positioned on opposite sides on the steering wheel. This is a more comfortable and stable steering position, and it also keeps your hands clear of the airbag.

5. Always wear your seat belt properly.

Seat belts save lives and prevent injuries. For your seat belt to be effective, it’s important for you to wear it properly. Adjust the seat belt height so that the shoulder strap lies flat against your chest, not on your neck or under your arm. The lap belt or lower strap should be snug across your hips.

Driving Position Safety Tips for Pregnant Women

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

Your seat belt is your baby’s first car seat. When worn properly, it can keep both you and your baby safe. Follow these 6 tips to get the perfect position.

With the summer months approaching, Americans will be hitting the road for vacation travel. For many people with back pain or neck pain, the prospect of a long trip can be daunting. Many drivers do not position themselves correctly increasing the strain on their back, neck and arms. A lot of the discomfort of driving comes from improper seat placement. Along with improving driving comfort, correct seat positioning can actually help improve control of the vehicle, prevent accidents and reduce injuries sustained from collisions. To adjust to the seat to proper positioning, use the following steps.

  1. Position yourself in the seat and ensure that you are sitting as far back in the seat as possible. It may feel as though your buttocks are wedged between the seat and back.
  2. Next you want to adjust the distance between the seat and the steering wheel. Move the seat forward enough so that you can fully depress the brake (and in some vehicles the clutch also), while still maintaining a slight bend in the knees. Your leg should ideally maintain an angle of approximately 120 degrees. A fully extended leg results in the knee locking-up which reduces the leverage and feel of the pedals, increases effort, and puts you in risk of injuries in a collision. When driving try keep the knees in line with your body, and avoid it dropping to the side while you drive. This can cause some aggravation to the pelvis, which can also lead to pain in the low back, hip, knee and foot.
  3. If possible, adjust the tilt of the seat by tilting the seat forwards or backwards until there is full support of the leg from hip to knee. While having your foot on the gas pedal, make certain that the seat is not pressing uncomfortably into the back of the leg. If too much pressure is placed on the, decreased circulation in the lower leg can occur.
  4. Adjust the back of the seat to an angle that fully supports the length of your back. When the seat is reclined too far, strain on the neck occurs because you to have to bend your head and neck forward at an angle in order to see the road. Some cars have a lumbar support feature which helps maintain a lumbar curvature in the spine while in the seated position. Adjust it so it supports the lumbar area without pressing into your back and causing pain. Placing a rolled towel behind the lower back can achieve the same position.
  5. The steering wheel should be positioned close enough for your hands to reach the 10 and 2 position, while maintaining a slight bend in the elbows. Having it too close to your chest can be dangerous in an accident, but you also do not want it so far away that you are straining to reach it. Tilt the steering wheel an angle so your hands are just a little lower than your shoulders. Keep both hands on the wheel when driving. Steering with one hand makes the weight of the hand work on the wheel, for which the shoulder musculature must be used to keep the wheel steady. Driving with one hand also results in a twist of the spine, especially if you get into the habit of holding the wheel from its top
  6. Finally adjust the head restraint by having the bottom of the head restraint level with the base of your skull. The headrest should be about an inch from your head, in order to avoid whiplash in the case of an accident.

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How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving(Photo Credit: iStock)

Do you get regular back and neck aches from driving or find yourself stuck in an awkward driving position? Don’t worry, we all do, and it takes a significant toll on our bodies. This guide will teach you how to improve and find the best driving position for yourself.

We should always practise driving with the proper posture and position; feeling comfortable and safe is very much needed while driving. In this article, we will go through the why, what, and how you should correct them to find the best driving position for yourself.

Why do you need the best driving position?

In the case of an accident(touch wood), the wrong driving position might decrease your survivability chances. Sitting too near the wheel would not provide you ample time for you to react in the event of a collision. Also, when your airbag gets deployed, it would give you the best smack of your life if you’re too close to the wheel, resulting in horrific facial injuries. Likewise, if you sit too far from your wheel, you’ll have to endure a sore arm from having your arms being fully extended and holding the steering wheel.

The problem may also come from the make and model of your car. If you’re 185cm and driving a small hatchback then that would cause issues because you might be too big for the car. The question comes in then:

What is the optimal driving position for yourself?

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving(Photo Credit: iStock)

Well, experts say that the comfortable and optimal position for sitting in your car should have your hips higher than your knees as this would assist your shoulder blades, providing more range for adjustment. Here are the steps to adjusting your driving position:

Adjusting your seat

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

This is what anyone should do when they get into their car. The seat controls vary on the vehicle and what you should be adjusting is your seat forward or backwards, height and backrest.

Seat Forwards or Backwards

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

You should slide your seat until your knees are slightly bent when you’re pressing the accelerator pedal. Slide your seat forward if your legs extend completely when you press the gas pedal, if not slide your seat back if your legs are bent too much. By ensuring your knees are slightly bent while you drive prevents knee pain.

A general rule of thumb to measure this, would be placing two fingers between the edge of your seat and the back of your knee.

Seat Height

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving(Photo Credit: AutoWise)

Next, as we mentioned earlier, your hips should be higher than your knees. Thus, you have to use your seat controls to raise your seat. Ensuring you can see out of the windshield and windows. If you are unable to adjust the height of your seat, a simple cushion can help you.

Seat Backrest

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving(Photo Credit: ThoughtCo.)

For adjusting your backrest, it is recommended that you recline your backrest to 100 degrees. This releases pressure on your lower back, encouraging comfortability for your drive. You should not have to lift your shoulders as you turn the steering wheel. If you are having to lean forward, move your backrest up. A good indicator that you’re in the optimal position is when your arms are slightly bent when holding the steering wheel.

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

How should you be sitting properly in a car?

1. Sit with your body all the way back into your seat

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

(Photo Credit: AutoJosh)

2. Hold your steering wheel at a “10 and 2” or“ 9 and 3” position.

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

(Photo Credit: iStock)

3. For manual drivers, keep your left foot on the dead pedal when not in use. Auto drivers, don’t use both feet at all, just your right.

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving

(Photo Credit:iStock)

More Tips for Your Drive

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving(Photo Credit:iStock)

When driving, always remember to take breaks every couple of hours especially if your occupation requires you to drive for long hours.This is because of fatigue and it would cause more body aches. Find somewhere to stop and stretch for a bit.

2. Test Drive / Try the car before buying

How to adjust seating to the proper position while driving(Photo Credit: iStock)

If you know that you are prone to body aches after driving, test drive the car before buying one and make sure it’s comfortable for you and your family. Test driving the car will determine whether it suits you. Being in the optimal driving position where you can reach the steering wheel with your elbows bent, looking at the mirror with ease are also indicators.

We hope that this guide proves useful and helps you if you have discomfort with your current driving position. Always remember to take breaks while you drive and let us know if this guide helps in the comments below!

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