Finding the perfect driving position is not really easy in all cars. True, most cars these days come with four-way, six-way, eight-way or even 10-way adjustable driver’s seats. And added to that you get tilt and telescopic steering adjustments in most cars as well, which should help most drivers find a driving position that suits them best.
The more number of seat adjustments your car has and the range of steering position adjustments, the easier it is to customize your driving position to suit you. However, not all cars come with that many adjustments – in such cases what can you do? Here’s a look at how to customize your seats for the perfect driving position. Also read: Brake failure: How to stop a car with no brakes
Ideal seat adjustment
Adjusting the seat for perfect reach is not just about comfort, but also about driver safety. In cars equipped with airbags you should not be too close to the steering wheel as the force of an airbag deploy can cause injuries in a crash.
Some people tend to sit with the seat too far back and legs outstretched. Others tend to recline the backrest too much or set the steering too low, all of which can lead to discomfort on long trips and even backaches or neck pain. Also read: How to change your wiper blades
To find the ideal driving position, sit in the car and then push the seat as far back as possible. Then pull it forward till the point where you can comfortably reach the pedals and push them all the way to the floor with you whole foot and without having to stretch your leg fully. Then adjust the height (if height adjustment is available) to clearly see out of the windscreen.
Then adjust the backrest to a full upright position first and then take it back two or three notches to a 70 degree angle or thereabouts. If the seat has lumbar support adjustments adjust this till you feel a firm hold in your lower back. If you have adjustable headrests adjust them in such a way that it supports the back of your neck when you lean back a bit.
Now adjust the steering (if it has telescopic adjustment that’s even better). Drop it to its lowest position and then lift it to a position where you find you don’t have to lift your shoulders when you turn the wheel. Place your hands at a 10-to-2 position on the steering wheel, with your elbows bent slightly. Don’t keep your hands fully outstretched (steering too far) or don’t keep your elbows bent too much (steering too close to you).
This should allow you to find your perfect driving position. But what if your car does not have this range of adjustments? Here are some options then. Also read: How to handle high-speed tyre blowouts
Bolstering the seats
If you are planning to get customized seat covers, you can consider padding the seats to increase the height in case you find them too low. Any good car accessories store would be able to do this for you by adding foam-rubber layers inside the seat cover. If you suffer from a bad back and want better lumbar support, that too can be done by adding padding. Not enough under-thigh support? Build it up by adding foam inside the seat fabric. These kind of customizations will cost about Rs. 700 – Rs. 10,000 depending on whether it’s just padding or the quality of seat covers you are using – whether fabric or art leather. Also read: 10 weekly maintenance checks for your car
Share any experiences of customizing your seats for the ideal driving position you may have.