Driving - It's A Real Pain In The Back!
posted on Dec 06 2016 by Karen Liggett
According to figures from Backcare, nearly two in three Britons suffer from back pain every year. Now motoring organisation Green Flag is urging all motorists to check their driving positions to avoid causing serious back damage or straining their backs whilst motoring.
Green Flag conducted a survey of drivers to find out the most common mistakes made when sitting behind the wheel. Spokesperson Nigel Charles worth revealed, "We were alarmed by the results of our survey, because drivers are simply not looking after their backs whilst at the wheel.
The problem starts before even setting off, as less than half the motorists questioned (44 %) admitted they never, or very rarely, re-adjust the car seat when getting into the car, even when someone else was driving previously."
The survey results also revealed that over a third of male drivers prefer to sit with their legs fully extended, which could strain back muscles as they reach for the pedals. In contrast, 32% of women admit sitting much closer to the wheel, which could be equally back for the back; being hunched up will not give enough support. Not only should the distance of the seat from the pedals be taken into consideration, but also the adjustment of the seat back will help drivers to sit more comfortably and prevent damage.
Women drivers surveyed were especially at risk; nearly half (47%) admitted that they position the back of the seat straight up, forcing the back to be too upright, which can cause shoulder and neck problems.
To help make driving more comfortable and avoid suffering from unnecessary backache, Green Flag recommends motorists make the following adjustments to their car seats before setting off: - When sitting in the chair, check that your legs are slightly bent so that your foot can easily press the clutch pedal down without fully moving your lower back or without lifting out of the seat. - In addition to your legs being comfortable, it is important that your arms are slightly bent whilst holding the wheel, to avoid putting additional pressure on your upper back and shoulders. - Do not position the back of the chair so that you are sitting upright, but try to sit so that the back of the seat is reclined enough to support the whole length of the spine. The angle between your back and legs should be greater than a right angle. - Make sure that your knees do not come too far up and that your hands do not touch your legs when moving them around the wheel. - Check that you can easily reach the gear lever and driving controls without causing any excessive movement to your back. - Position the base of the headrest so that it is level with the base of your head.