driving posture is yours?
26th May 2006.
are you in your driving?
We tend to focus our attention on the
car, on its environment, cursing the legions of bad
drivers - never forget: only others make mistakes - but we
rarely think about the most basic element of our comfort: driving
According to a new study by eBayMotors.co.uk*,
based on an independent ICM poll of 1,000 respondents on 8
May 2006, over 14 million British
drivers could be suffering from Repetitive Driving
Injuries (RDI). That would
be almost half of all British drivers (48%)** suffering
from a painful new medical
condition experts are calling Repetitive Driving Injury,
caused by poor driving posture.
experts warn many drivers are risking serious long term
muscle, joint and spinal injuries as a quarter of
motorists admit they don't know how to correctly adjust
their car seats for comfort and safety.
According to the study, the five most
common Repetitive Driving Injuries are:
- foot cramp (suffered by 81% of the survey sample),
- lumbar pain (74%),
- stiff neck (74%),
- side ache (74%), and
- headache/eye strain (73%).
Almost two million British drivers
(6.5%) start to suffer from these after just fifteen
minutes driving, with 9% of drivers experiencing symptoms
after driving just 22 miles***.
Charlie Coney of eBayMotors.co.uk
comments “Despite eight out of ten drivers having
suffered from RDI's, only one in five (21%) considers car
comfort an important factor when purchasing a car.
Choosing the car best suited to their driving style should
be an increased priority for all car buyers to avoid these
To help car buyers avoid RDI's,
eBayMotors.co.uk worked with
Professor Mark Porter of Loughborough University
to identify the four most common driving positions and
their related problems.
The results reveal four main types of
drivers: 'Racers', 'Pimps', 'Multi-taskers' and
Find the correct image! Where does each
of us fit?
(37% of the respondents)
shoulder pain, neck strain, leg cramp and
How to spot: Driver is leaned
forward and sat upright, seat forward, bent legs, bent
Most common RDI symptoms: Shoulder pain, neck
strain, leg cramp and side ache.
- Relax! Tense and nervous drivers are more likely to
adopt this position leading to tense shoulders so try to
avoid driving situations that stress you out.
- When buying a car, go for one with a fully adjustable
interior package. Ensure the height of the back rest
reaches the shoulders and does not obstruct 'rearward
vision'. Try and sit back more into the seat to get better
- Take regular breaks where you can get out of the car to
stretch your legs.
headaches and eye strain, feet cramp, pain
How to spot: Driver has straight
back, arms bent, one hand on gear stick. 45% of mobile
office workers are Multi-Taskers.
Most common RDI symptoms: Headaches and eye strain,
feet cramp, pain in coccyx. Solutions:
- 45% of Multi-Taskers drive for work but they should try
not to use the car as an office.
- Twisting to access paperwork and the laptop
can be more damaging to your back and neck than driving.
- Regularly adjust your seat on long journeys to help your
- Use a 'hands-free'
mobile phone kit.
- Consider changing to an automatic car to avoid constant
gear changes and keep two hands on the wheel.
THE RACER (19%)
side aches and lumbar pain.
How to spot: Straight arms, seat
reclined, straight legs, low driving position.
Most common RDI symptoms: Side aches and lumbar
- Be aware low seat positions (and bucket seats) provide
limited support for the lower back. and sides. To
counteract assume a fairly upright position.
- Knees should not be higher than your hips - it reminds
you to sit up!
THE PIMP (8%)
driver: arm and shoulder ache from resting
on the window ledge.
How to spot: Seat inclined, arm
on window ledge/outside window, one hand on wheel. Drivers
aged 25-35 year-old men are most likely to be 'Pimps'
behind the wheel.
Most common RDI symptoms: arm and shoulder ache
from resting on the window ledge. Solutions:
- Sit in a fairly upright position, with knees lower than
hips. You should be able to reach the accelerator and
brake without stretching your legs.
- Roll up the window and keep both arms on the steering
Professor Mark Porter's comments, “Whichever
position you drive in, the two most important things to
remember when choosing your next car are:
1. The greater the number of adjustable features within a
car, the greater the likelihood of achieving a comfortable
2. Important adjustments include an in/out and up/down
steering wheel and a seat with independent height and
cushion tilt so you can set the height of the seat for
headroom/vision and then control the cushion angle for
ease of pedal operation & comfort.”
Charlie Coney of eBayMotors.co.uk adds:
“It's incredible people will spend thousands to ensure
comfort and safety in their homes and offices, but when it
comes to cars only 21% of drivers consider it a priority.
With over 100,000 cars listed on eBayMotors.co.uk at any
one time, buyers can road test a vast range of cars in
their local area to find a vehicle that suits their
Further research highlights:
- Women start to feel RDI quicker than men, with 58% of
women complaining of car-ache in the first two hours of a
journey, compared to only 46% of men.
- Drivers of 4x4s are most prone to RDI's.
- Drivers in the Midlands (54%) are most likely to suffer.
- Motorists in the South East are the least knowledgeable
about how to set up their car to avoid pain and
For those who would like to read more
about driving ergonomics, a special website
covers this topic.
results are based on an independent ICM Poll of 1,000
respondents on 8 May 2006.
** Based on a total of 29,500,000 cars currently on UK
roads (independent figure recorded by the Society of Motor
Manufacturers and Traders Limited).
*** Based on average speed of 45mph.