With the end of the school vacation in the South region in sight, many Dutch people will soon make the long drive home. Elsewhere in the country, families may still be preparing to leave for the holiday address. The question for both groups is the same: how do you set the correct sitting position in your car?
In most cars, the seat, steering wheel, seat belts and mirrors are extensively adjustable, in order to find an optimal seating position. What this position is is by no means clear to everyone. Yet there are a number of simple steps that can help you take a better sitting position.
"An active sitting position is important, not only does it prevent back pain and fatigue, but a good sitting position also gives you good vision, you can steer well and your body keeps in contact with the vehicle, even when you steer. Good sitting is important because this is how all the airbags in a car work optimally. You sometimes see people who 'lie' in their seats; this is not wise because in the case of a fast fall-back maneuver you can only make a limited steering angle, "says Mark Maaskant of Prodrive Academy, a company that offers driving training.
Make sure arms and legs are slightly bent
Press the clutch pedal or brake once behind the wheel if the car has an automatic transmission. If your leg presses the seat of this seat during this operation, you are too far away from the pedals. If you sit closer, your leg will also assume a slightly bent position, which will result in less serious injury in the event of a collision.
"With maximum braking and a collision, this prevents you from damaging your knee joint. The slight kink will in any case ensure that your leg can move along with the blow and not all that collision energy will come on the joint," says Maaskant.
Then adjust the backrest so that you can put your wrists on the edge of the handlebars without releasing your shoulders from the backrest. This means that your arms, just like your legs, now have a bent position.
The place between ten to two and a quarter to three is the best position for your hands on the wheel. This makes things such as indicating direction or turning on the wipers easier, since the controls are also in that position. The airbag can expand better and more safely in the event of a collision than when a hand rests at the twelve o'clock position.
With a good seating position you have more control over the car. (Photo: Mazda)
More setting options in more expensive models
The steering system is adjustable in height in most cars. In more expensive models, this is also possible in the longitudinal direction. This makes it easier to take a good sitting position. The same applies to the chair: in more expensive models, the chair is more extensively adjustable.
For example, you can adjust the slope of the seat in some cars. Find a balance between support for the thighs and a bent position of the legs when pressing the pedals. The seat can also be extended with certain models.
The height of the seat is also adjustable for slightly more expensive vehicles. Although it is nice to sit a little higher, you must ensure that there is at least one fist thickness between the head and roof. Another way to find the right height is to ensure that you can see through the center of the windshield.
Car seat with an extendable front part for extra support. (Photo: BMW)
Headrest level with your head
If the vehicle is fitted with height-adjustable belts, adjust them so that the belt runs down the shoulder in the straightest possible line. In any case, he should not cut your neck or walk under shoulder height.
The top of your headrest must be level with the top of your head. This offers optimum protection in the event of a head-to-tail collision and thus reduces the risk of a whiplash. In fact, with a headrest that is set too low, you run even more risk.
For that reason, more and more car seats are equipped with an integrated headrest or, as with Volvo, a headrest in a fixed but correct position.
The headrests in a Volvo are in the right place for everyone. (Photo: Volvo)
"Adjust the exterior mirror further to the outside"
Adjust the exterior mirrors before departure. You do this to a large extent according to your own insight, but it is important that you look where the view in the left corner of the interior mirror ends. That way you ensure that the view continues where it stops in the inside mirror.
"In your opinion, that probably means that you have to adjust your mirror very far to the 'outside', but our safety idea behind this is that the traffic does not take place in the side of your car, but on the road. This also makes your blind spot so good as road, but keep an eye on motorcycles. You adjust your right door mirror so that you have a good view for yourself ", says Maaskant.
Adjust the exterior mirrors before departure. It is important that you look where the view in the left corner of the rear view mirror ends. (Photo: Frank Jacobs)