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Car Ergonomics are Just as Important as Office Ergonomics

We all know that having an ergonomically correct desk set-up is crucial to avoiding neck and back pain, and to have a comfortable work day. But another big part of you day is driving; to and from work, to your kids soccer practice, and to the grocery store. Long periods of time in the car, can mean sitting in awkward, static postures for long periods of time. While desk set-up is important, you should also ergonomically prepare your everyday driving trips. Having proper vehicle set-up will help you avoid pain and discomfort and can even help you improve daily ergonomic habits.

Every car has different features and instruments to make traveling by car more comfortable. So before you hit the road, take a few extra minutes to ensure safe and proper traveling postures. 

Check out these tips:

  • Adjust your seat height so that all instruments are eye level.
  • Seat height should be adjusted so your hips are higher than your knees.  
    • Helpful Hint: Use a cushion or a pillow to help place you in the proper position.
  • Ensure your feet can appropriately press the accelerator and break without your back leaving the seat.
  • Slightly recline the seat to approximately 100 degrees.
  • Adjust the steering wheel to avoid over-reaching;
    • Imagine the steering wheel is a clock and place hands at 10 and 2, or 9 and 3 
    • Wheel distance should be 10 inches from the the drivers breastbone.

Use this checklist to make sure your car is ergonomically correct:

  1. Posture is upright in your seat.
  2. Knees are lower than your hips.
  3. Feet can reach the accelerator and brake pedal without overstretching your legs.
  4. Make sure you are able to touch the entire pedal with your whole foot, not just your toes.
  5. You should be able to see three inches or more over the steering wheel.
  6. Adjust your mirrors so you avoid having to repetitively turn your neck and torso.
  7. Make sure you can fit two or three fingers behind the back of your knee and the front of your seat.
  8. You should be able to keep your shoulders relaxed and your arms close to your body when driving or sitting.


If you have any questions about ergonomics or think you might have an injury, call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center at 703-450-4300 to schedule your evaluation. Let our skilled clinicians help you get pain-free so you can get back to doing what you love!

For more information on proper vehicle set-up, CLICK HERE!

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