Man sitting driver’s seat
Safety

How To Find The Right Driving Position For You

Are comfort and safety important to you on the road? If so, it's time to reassess your driving position.

By Shell on Feb. 29, 2020

If you're seated incorrectly, you're not just increasing your chances of aches, pains and fatigue, but putting yourself at risk of not being able to control your vehicle in an emergency. Even worse, the way you sit might prevent your car from protecting you in an accident.

So, how do ensure your driving position is correct? Here's what you need to focus on.

Legs

If your seat is positioned too far forward, you'll find it difficult to move your feet freely between the pedals. Alternatively, if you're seated too far back, you risk being unable to hit the brake with sufficient force or having your body 'submarine' beneath the seatbelt in a collision.

If your seat's fore/aft adjustment is correct, you'll be able to place your feet behind the pedals and touch the firewall (the vertical panel behind the pedals) with a slight bend in your knees. If you can't easily move your foot between the pedals in this position, slide the seat back a little.

Arms

Sitting too close to the steering wheel makes it difficult to twirl it as freely as you might need to in an emergency-swerve situation. If you're sitting too far away, meanwhile, you'll naturally lean in towards it – increasing back and shoulder fatigue – while using it to stabilise your body during cornering, again decreasing steering control.

To fine-tune this part of your driving position, rest your wrists on top of the steering wheel. If your arms are stretched as you do this, you're too far away. Alternatively, if your arms have more than a slight, comfortable bend, you're too close. Most cars allow you to get this right by adjusting the steering column telescopically. If you can't do that, use your seat's reclining or fore/aft adjustment.

How to find the right driving position for you

Press the marked areas to learn more about each
Shell Infographic How To Find The Right Driving Position For You Transparent
Detail 1

Head

Your eyeline should be half way up your windscreen

Detail 2

Legs

You should be able to place your feet behind the pedals and touch the firewall with a slight knee bend

Detail 3

Arms

Your wrists should be able to rest comfortably on the steering whell

Detail 4

Hands

Ensure they are placed at the '9' and '3' position. 

Press the marked areas to learn more about each

Hands

'10' and '2' was once the recommend hand position but this tends to result in a 'forearms-up' pose, increasing arm and shoulder fatigue. Placing your hands at '9' and '3' will keep you fresher for longer, while giving you greater steering control.

Head

Seeing properly up the road is a vital aspect of safe driving, and your eye line needs to be approximately halfway up the windscreen to achieve this. Your head also needs to be level to reduce neck fatigue. If your head tilts up as you look down the road, raise your seat. If your head tilts down, lower it.

And don't forget your head restraints. If they're too low or too high, you increase your risk of suffering whiplash in a collision, so adjust them to a height that leaves them level with the centre-back part of your skull.

Disclaimer

Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (“Viva Energy”) has compiled the above article for your general information and to use as a general reference. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken by Viva Energy in compiling this article, Viva Energy does not warrant or represent that the information in the article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.

Where information, recommendations, opinions or ideas have been sourced from third parties external to Viva Energy (Third Party Information), Viva Energy cannot be certain that the Third Party Information is accurate, current or complete, nor should a mention of any business, product, service or website of a third party be taken as a recommendation, approval or endorsement of, or warranty or claim regarding, that business, product, service or website.