Sit back and relax
I’m the type of person who likes to be comfortable. I’ll often sit in my best chair at home, put up my feet and relax. Stretching out feels good, doesn’t it? I don’t like being cramped and know many people who don’t like it either. However, I do spot drivers heading on down the road in a somewhat cramped seating position; like the driver in this photo.
I often wonder why drivers would sit so close to the steering wheel and dashboard. I know those who are somewhat short, or vertically challenged as many of my students have called themselves in the past, feel they need to sit close enough to the pedals to use them effectively. However, there are other ways you can sit without jeopardizing your safety yet still remain comfortable.
During the first in-car lesson with students I’m teaching at Young Drivers of Canada I show them the proper seating position. The driver should be able to touch the floor behind the brake pedal with their leg slightly bent. This will allow the driver to give maximum pressure on their brakes in an emergency. If your leg is too straight, you won’t have as much strength behind your braking. On the other side, such as this driver, their leg would be too bent to apply enough pressure to stop hard enough in an emergency.
Steering should also be a consideration when thinking of the best seating position. If you’re too far away from the steering wheel your steering can be affected. If your arms are too stiff, your shoulders will have to move away from the back of the seat as you turn the steering wheel. When a quick movement is needed with the steering wheel, you may not have as much control as you need.
For the driver in this photo, they may have a more serious problem. Their arms are bent too much which would place their elbows into their body. That would prohibit them from steering quickly in an emergency. They would only be able to use short movement of the steering wheel as their elbows would get in the way and make their steering less effective.
The other added problem here is the airbag is very close to their face and chest. The impact of the airbag, which comes out at roughly 300 km/h, would injure them as opposed to help them. Always sit as far away as possible from the airbag with arms bent slightly and a slightly bent leg. It’s not so much about what happens if the airbag deploys, it’s about staying under control each time you drive.
Sit in a position behind the wheel that not only gives you comfort, but also control of the vehicle. It doesn’t matter how you look after a crash anyway.