Subscribe to the Road & Travel Blog RSS Feed

« New Car Test Drive: 2009 Audi Q5 | Main | Extra Baggage: Airlines Increasing Charges »

October 06, 2009

Sit Right to Avoid Neck Pain Caused By Driving

Neck painBecause driving a motor vehicle is a constant task in a very fixed sitting posture, unlike sitting in an office chair, the extra stress has been proven to cause neck and back problems. The driver’s intense focus on avoiding an accident prohibits his or her natural weight shifting while driving, but correct posture in the driver’s seat can decrease the risk. Here are some tips for adjusting what you do before you start your drive and changing the way you drive:

• Start with good driving posture. The best angle for the back of your seat is at 100 degrees, which is just shy of straight. Place your hands in the 3 and 9 o'clock positions on the steering wheel and elbows comfortably on the armrests if you have them.

• Support your head. Adjust your headrest so that it touches the middle part of the back of your head.


• Support your lower back. If your car seat offers lumbar support, adjust it to fill the space at your lower back; if not, a small pillow placed against the bottom part of your seat back will maintain the right shape from tailbone to neck. Also, make sure your seat is close enough to the steering wheel so that you don't have to lean forward.


• Adjust your mirrors. Give yourself the widest field of vision with all your mirrors so you don't have to move your head around to see.


• Avoid eyestrain. Driving with poor vision can lead to eyestrain and cause you to crane your neck forward, which puts pressure on your neck muscles. If you're straining to see while driving, you need to get your vision checked. It sounds obvious, but make sure your windshield is clean to help you see clearly. If you're driving in bright sunlight, use sunglasses with at least 99 percent UV protection.


• Take a break. If you start to get a stiff neck, are feeling neck pain, or want to prevent it, pull into the next safe rest stop. Do some stretching and walk off the kinks.


There are also some safety risks involved with sitting the wrong way while driving. A study using computer modeling to simulate rear-end accidents, concluded that the headrest or backrest should be no more than about 2.5 inches away from the back of your head, to keep soft tissue from being injured in the event of a rear-end collision. The key to the adjustment is to not recline the seat, rather tilt it toward your body, so that it nearly touches the back of your head when you are positioned as you normally drive.

For more safe driving tips, visit RTM's Auto Advice & Tips section.

Free Twitter buttons from Bookmark and Share Digg!

Subscribe to Roadandtravel Blog   Become a Facebook Fan


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sit Right to Avoid Neck Pain Caused By Driving:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.