As any driver, especially OTR truckers, knows – how your rear end meets your seat for long periods of time can make all the difference. A good fit is a joy, a bad fit means constant pain. Proper seat positioning can save you from having back issues like sciatica, muscle degeneration, even heart disease. So what does healthy driving posture looks like?
Sitting in a trucker’s seat is not like sitting in an office chair! When driving for hours on end, you may experience pain due to being unable to shift body positions. Pain can also be caused by:
- poor posture (from personal habit or from an improperly adjusted or fitted seat),
- the shape of the vehicle seat itself,
- constant vibrations from the vehicle and road,
- lifting heavy boxes, loading or unloading goods,
- eating poorly.
Find Your Fit
Many owner-operators and fleet contractors purchase or lease the type of truck (and all of its features) that best fits their needs. Company drivers, however, rely on fleet trucks that may not fit well so it’s especially important to set yourself up right before starting a run. For all drivers, it’s important that the interior is adjusted properly so you can:
- reach the pedals and controls,
- have sufficient headroom,
- sit high enough to see out the front and side windows and mirrors,
- reach the steering wheel without stretching the arms.
To fit the cab to your body size, start by making sure you have sufficient room, 10-12” inches, between the steering wheel and your chest
The steering wheel column should not interfere with leg movement, steering and operating the pedals, or bump your knees when getting in and out of the vehicle. This adjustment ensures that the seatbelt and airbag will provide the maximum safety protection in case of a crash.
1. Seat Height
Raise the seat as high as you can but still be comfortable. This height will optimize your vision through the windows. You should be able to see at least 3” inches over the top of the steering wheel. Ensure that you have sufficient room between the roof and the top of your head. Adjust the mirrors after you have finished setting the other features.
2. Seat Position
Move the seat forward until you can easily push the pedals through their full range with your whole foot, not just your toes. You may have to readjust the seat height to get better control of the pedals.
4. Seat Cushion Angle
Tilt the seat cushion until your thighs are supported along the full length of the cushion without there being pressure at the back of your knees.
3. Seat Cushion Length
Where possible, adjust the seat length so that the back of your knees is about 1-¼ – 2-⅜” inches from the front on the seat.
5. Steering Wheel
If your steering wheel can be tilted up-and-down, tilt it so the air bag behind the centre of the steering wheel is pointing to your chest, not your head and neck or your stomach. In addition, your arms should be in a comfortable position (not too high or too low).
6. Head Restraint (headrest)
While sitting, raise the head restraint until the top of it is level with top of your head. If the head restraint can be tilted, adjust the angle of the head restraint until is practically touching the back of your head when you are in your sitting posture.
7. Lumbar Support
Adjust the lumbar support up-and-down and in-and-out until you feel an even pressure along your back from the hips to shoulder height. As this point, the seat back should feel comfortable and there should be no gaps or pressure points in the back support area.
8. Seat Back (backrest)
Adjust the back rest until it supports the full length of your back when you are stilling upright. If you are leaning too far back, you may end up bending your head and neck forward, which may cause muscle fatigue, neck or shoulder pain, tingling in the fingers, etc.
9. Fine Tuning
You may have to go through steps 1 – 8 again if you need to optimize the way that vehicle cab fits you. You should be able to reach and operate all of the controls, pedals, the steering wheel, etc., and have good visibility through the windows and mirrors.
BigRoad’s Got Your Back
Whether you’re an owner-operator or a fleet of hundreds, BigRoad’s got your back when it comes to compliance. Put yourself in control with DashLink ELD. Go full ELD or run as an AOBRD until you’re ready to make the transition. Request a demo today to see how the DashLink ELD can get your fleet on the path to compliance.