Every fleet driver knows that sitting behind the wheel all day means wear and tear on the body that can lead to everything from an achy back to a stiff neck.
While vehicles are sometimes the culprits, poor driving posture can also play a key role, according to a report by GEICO.
Bad driving posture can result in an increased risk of discomfort in the neck, back, shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers, legs and feet, notes the article. Over time, poor posture could result in chronic pain, which can actually jeopardize a driver’s ability to do his or her job.
Moreover, experts say poorly positioned drivers also have a higher risk of serious injury if they get into a collision.
The GEICO report offers several tips for drivers to help alleviate poor posture. Here are a few to consider:
- Support your back: Slide your tailbone as close to the seat back as possible. Aim for a two- to three-finger gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
- Don't sit too close to the steering wheel: Studies show drivers whose chests were closer to the wheel were significantly more likely to suffer severe injuries to the head, neck and chest in front- and rear-end collisions.
- Get the right height: The angle of your seat back should be a little greater than a perpendicular 90 degrees. At 100 to 110 degrees, the seat will put the least pressure on your back. Leaning too far back forces you to push your head and neck forward, which can cause neck and shoulder pain and tingling in the fingers.
- Set your headrest: Set the top of the headrest between the top of your ears and the top of your head; it should just touch the back of your head when you’re sitting comfortably. The headrest is also important in reducing whiplash injuries in the event of a rear-end collision, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Stretch your legs: Commercial drivers need to take regular breaks. This is good for your body — you can take a brief walk, stretch your legs and reduce the likelihood of muscle cramps, aches and pains. Moreover, driving can be tiring and drowsy driving is dangerous driving. Nearly 700 people lost their lives in drowsy-driving related crashes in 2019.