For those who drive for work, whether it be due to a long commute or the role itself, comfort is vitally important. Long hours spent behind the wheel can have negative consequences on worker’s long-term health, which can have a knock on effect on their productivity and even safety when driving, so taking steps to mitigate this is essential.
To help you maximise your comfort when driving, we’ve put together our 10 top tips for driver comfort – keep them in mind on your next journey!
1. Ensure your seat is adjusted properly
You should be able to reach all of the controls without needing to stretch, and able to press the pedals with your heels resting on the floor without moving forward in your seat. Make sure the backrest is reclined to approximately 30 degrees from the vertical position, and check that your seat is adjusted properly so that you have a clear view of both the dashboard and the road.
2. Adjust your steering wheel if necessary
Your elbows should be slightly bent and your hands should be at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position when holding the wheel – if you can adjust your steering wheel you should lower the position as this allows your upper arms to be more relaxed. You should also ensure the steering wheel is not obscuring your view of the dashboard.
3. Ensure your head restraint is adjusted properly
To provide proper support and protect against whiplash, the top of the head restraint needs to be as high as the top of your head.
4. Change your posture regularly
Holding the same position for a long time can cause discomfort, even if the posture itself is comfortable. Therefore, in order to avoid this, we recommend you take a short break of about 15 minutes for every two hours of driving. Use this time stretch and walk around to encourage blood circulation and prevent muscle aches and cramps.
5. Avoid sudden movements after sitting for a long time
Whilst you should engage in some gentle movement during your breaks and at the end of your journey, be careful not to move too suddenly after sitting down for a long period of time. Make sure you take a couple of minutes to stretch before unloading your vehicle in order to prevent a strain or tear to your muscles.
6. Avoid eye fatigue by taking regular breaks
Another reason to take breaks while driving is to rest your eyes. Eye strain is caused by focusing intently for an extended period, fatiguing the eye muscles, and can cause blurry vision. Taking regular breaks gives you the chance to relax your eyes, reducing strain and fatigue.
7. Have your eyes tested regularly
Along the same lines, you should also make sure to have your eyesight tested at least every two years. Not only do you need to make sure you’re meeting the standard minimum requirement (being able to read a vehicle registration plate from 20 metres away), but wearing the wrong prescription can also contribute to eye strain and cause headaches.
8. Take any prescribed medications into account
Make sure you’re taking medicines exactly as prescribed, and do not drive if you’re unable to concentrate, have blurred or double vision, or feel drowsy or dizzy.
9. Take measures to reduce stress
Staying calm while driving is essential for your safety and the safety of other road users, and can affect your confidence and ability to concentrate when driving.
10. Pay attention to tiredness
Research shows that driver fatigue could be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road accidents. The most important piece of advice is do not drive when tired – make sure you’re well-rested before you begin your journey and take rest breaks when needed, with at least a 15 minute break for every two hours of driving. It’s also best to avoid driving during the ‘danger zones’ of 2am-6am and 2pm-4pm if you can. These are the times when accidents involving tired drivers are most common.
For more guidance regarding driving for work, visit the HSE website. We are also currently running an offer on our Driving Safely and Lone Working courses for this month only! Get 10% off these online training courses with the code ‘driving10’ at checkout.
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