Position is Everything
by Anthony Ricci
President of ADSI, Inc.
The saying "position is everything in life"; holds true even behind the wheel of your automobile. Taking the correct driving position will help the driver remain focused and alert for longer periods of time. Being in the ready position will also assist the driver when avoiding those occasional road hazards. The correct seat position starts with the steering wheel and works its way to the control pedals.
Making Yourself "Ready"
Pull the headrest up until it is even with the back of your head at eye level. This device is very important in helping prevent whiplash injury, in the event of an accident.
Adjust the steering wheel so that the 12 o'clock would be approximately at shoulder level. Place both arms straight out over the steering wheel, the bend in your wrist should be directly over the top of the steering wheel. While your wrists are in this position, it is important to make sure that your shoulder blades are touching the seat back. This is quite important since in the event of an emergency it will allow you to push gently against the wheel pressing yourself back into the seat. This will allow your hands and arms to steer the wheel allowing for smooth wheel control. Many people panic and pull themselves into the steering wheel causing an abrupt movement in steering, which can result in loss of control.
Your hands now can be brought down to the 9 and 3 position on the steering wheel. This is the position that will allow the largest steering wheel rotation. The back of your hands should be facing you allowing you to push gently on the wheel. Remember to keep your thumbs pointed straight up while resting them against the steering wheel. In the event of frontal impact it is possible that you dislocate your thumbs since there will be such a violent and sudden weight transfer forward. If your vehicle's airbags are deployed it will also force your thumbs backwards. I don't know about you, but I kind of grew attached to my thumbs.
Let's take a look at our feet positioning and the pedals. Your left foot should be placed on the fake pedal or (floor board) all the way to the left of the pedal, unless using the clutch, of course. Your left foot should be pressed against the floorboard allowing your hips to stay wedged into the seat. For set up purpose only places your right foot under the brake pedal so it is against the floor. Do not drive with your right foot in this position it is only for measurement purpose. If you can reach the floor under the brake pedal, you will then if need be, be able to use 100% of your brakes.After measuring the correct amount of legroom, place your heel at a comfortable pivoting point between the brake pedal and the gas pedal. Your right foot should control these two pedals. For maximum brake control your right knee and big toe should be in a straight line over the brake pedal. OK, we are ready to go but please don't forget to check the mirror and buckle up.
Side mirrors should be adjusted, so the side of the car is slightly out of sight. This will allow you to see more of the blind spot. Remember every vehicle mirror has a blind spot. When changing lanes a head check after the mirror check is always the best method. The rear view mirror should be positioned allowing you the most visibility through the rear window of your vehicle.