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Can adjusting the driver’s seat prevent a serious back injury?

You may have heard stories about drivers who suffered head-on collisions and walked away, or low-speed crash victims who never walked again. Is it possible that the position of the driver’s head rest could make the difference between whiplash and a spinal cord injury?

Minor Adjustments to the Driver’s Seat Can Prevent a Major Back Injury

While you can’t stop a car from rear-ending you in the Northland Corners parking lot, you could be able to lessen the damage the other driver does to your car—and your body. Studies have shown that the placement of the seat, steering wheel, and head rest can all make a significant difference in the level of injury a driver suffers in a crash.  

Here are a few tips from AAA on how to correctly position the driver’s seat before taking off:

  • Tilt angle. Your seat should be as upright as possible, so that you are comfortable and sitting squarely behind the steering wheel.
  • Head restraint. Your head restraint should be within 3 inches of the back of your head, with the top of the restraint hitting a point slightly above your ears.
  • Steering wheel. Sitting too close to the steering wheel can increases fatigue and stress, and also makes it more difficult to steer. You are also more likely to suffer a broken ribs if the airbag deploys. There should be between 10 and 12 inches from the center of the steering wheel to your breastbone.
  • Seat location. Your seat should be locked in a position where you can easily switch between the gas and brake pedals without lifting your heel off the floor. Drivers shorter than 5 feet 4 inches may also adjust the height of the pedals (or use pedal extensions).
  • Check windows. If you are properly positioned in the driver’s seat, you should be able to see up to two car widths to the right side, and one car width to the left side. You should also be able to see the ground at least 12 feet in front of you.

Remember: taking small precautions every day can help you avoid lifelong injury. Feel free to share this link on Facebook to help all the drivers in your family stay safe behind the wheel!

 

James Roswold
James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.

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