• 16 December 2012

12 tips for comfortable car journeys

Many people get backache or neck pain after a long drive. We often try to get to our destination as fast as possible, ignoring the signs of discomfort and fatigue. Make your journey comfortable. It might take longer to get there but the journey will be more enjoyable and you will need less recovery time.

1. Sit right back against your seat and support your back correctly with a cushion or towel if needed. I particularly like the ‘JML Sit Right’ support for bucket car seats (sold on Amazon).

2. Adjust the seat so the legs are slightly bent when pressing the pedals.
Make the most of your cruise control settings to relax the legs.
3. Adjust the backrest so the angle is 5° to 10° behind the vertical line of gravity. Your arms should be bent as they reach for the wheel.
4. The upper edge of the headrest should be aligned with the top of the head. There should be three quarters of an inch between your head and the headrest.
5. When adjusting the seat, think about your posture and adjust your mirrors accordingly.
6. Hold the wheel. Don’t grip it. Relax your shoulders, neck and jaw.
7. If the traffic stresses you out, remember your diaphragmatic breathing.
8. Enjoy your journey! Download music, audio books, comedy sketches…

9. Take breaks: walking gets your circulation going and will relax your muscles. When stopping, park the car away from the shops so you have to walk there.

10. Avoid twisting when getting out of the car. Turn the whole body towards the door first, lower your feet to the ground, and then stand up. If the steering wheel is in the way, slide the seat backwards.
11. If you need something from the back seat, don’t twist and reach for it. It is far better to walk around to the back door to get it.
12. After a long journey, your muscles will be stiff, so vulnerable to injuries. Do not empty the car boot straight away. Say hello to your friends, walk, move or stretch before lifting the suitcases.
Remember to bend forward from the hips and avoid twisting your spine when lifting suitcases.


The above guidelines apply to the driver and passengers!