Tips For A Safer & More Comfortable Journey
Here’s a range of tips to help drivers and passengers enjoy more comfortable journeys. These are based on the process of ageing and how it can affect our ability to get in and out of a vehicle or drive around safely and in comfort.
Driving forces us to sit in a constrained posture, sometimes for long periods of time. This can often lead to complaints including lower back pain, stiff neck, foot cramps, and sore shoulders, especially among older drivers.
Getting In & Out
If you find it difficult to get into or out of a car, consider getting something extra to hold on to. The steering wheel can offer a bit of extra leverage, but it’s not recommended because you could do long term damage to it. There’s a range of handles and large grips that you can buy that go into the car door latch to create a strong handle. This improves overall stability and safety when accessing and leaving the vehicle.
Loading & Unloading
Many drivers find it challenging to stow luggage and heavy equipment. For example, putting a wheelchair into the boot or the rear seats of the vehicle can be a risky undertaking based on its sheer weight. There are simple ways to make boot access easier. Use simple laminated boards, as they can reduce the strain of lifting. And think about putting some sort of protective cover at the boot opening, so you don’t risk damaging your car’s paint and bodywork if you’re struggling with a heavy item of luggage.
The Seat Belt
If it’s uncomfortable reaching back to grab your seat belt, that’s no excuse to stop wearing it. Easy-reach seatbelt handles are cheap to buy and quick to fit. Also consider extra padding if you need it. Comfortable and soft seatbelt covers protect your neck and shoulder from rubbing and chafing.
Check Your Driving Position
Sitting too close to the steering wheel is a bad idea, as this could compromise the effective deployment of safety devices such as the car's air bags in the event of an accident. Sitting too far back though can compromise pedal control. So, make sure your feet have free and effective contact with the pedals. Experts recommend a minimum of 30cm gap between the centre of the steering wheel and the base of the driver’s breastbone.
As the days shorten, we’re entering the time of year where glare from low sun can seriously compromise visibility. But you can take steps to reduce the harmful effects of glare. Ask a professional about the most suitable sunglasses for your needs and consider additional glare shields which you can fit to the sun visor.
Plan Your Journey
Take the time to plan any long journeys or trips, especially on unfamiliar roads. Try and travel when traffic is light and stick to the types of roads that suit you best. Consider postponing the journey if weather conditions are poor.
Stretch Your Legs
On longer journeys, drivers and passengers should stop and stretch their legs (and arms and back) at least every two hours.
Exercise If You Get Stuck In Traffic
Have a go at buttock clenches, side bends as well as shoulder shrugs and circles if you get stuck while out on the road. Seat braces (where you push your hands into the steering wheel and your back into the seat) can also help.
Choose A Comfortable Car
When you visit a car dealership to choose a new car it's important that you take the vehicle for a proper test drive to make sure that the seats are comfortable and supportive, especially if you're going to be the main driver.
Heated driver and front passenger seats are becoming more common in modern cars, and can help people with a disability and certain medical conditions to ease their back pain when driving.
When you take a test drive check to make sure that you can reach the steering wheel and all the controls comfortably from your preferred seating position, and remember to ask about all the special features that the car seats have to help you find the most comfortable position.
Necessary cookies enable core functionality. Our website cannot function properly without these cookies, and they can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences (please note if disabled our website may not work or show correctly on your device).
We use personalisation cookies to understand how you engage with our website across all your devices, this includes recording your browsing habits and activity. This information is used for profiling purposes and to help identify you, so that we can show personalised content.
We use third party cookies on our site to serve you with advertisements that we believe are relevant to you and your interests. You may see these advertisements on our site and on other sites that you visit on any of your devices where you've accepted marketing cookies. Please note that if you disable these, you will still see adverts but they won't be specifically tailored to you and your interests.