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Old 5th November 2007, 13:16   #1
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Default Car Ergonomics

Hi all,

I had a few thoughts about Car Ergonomics and I've penned them down here. Please feel free to add your thoughts on making drives comfortable and strain free.

Driving a car can be pleasure or a pain, if you do not set the right
seating posture. A good seating posture can eliminate lot of back and neck
related injuries in the longer run. With that in mind, here are a few
factors around the discussion of driving ergonomics.

A. Back rest position:

Most cars will have a tilt-able back rest. This is not just for good
support, but also for comfort. If the back rest is tilted too much to the
front, there is a chance that the lower back will get strained over time.
It also important to sit close to the backrest to get enough support to
lower back or lumbar disc.

B. Seat position:

Seats are moved to and fro, based on the driver's reach. The ideal
position as I am told is that the driver should be able to depress the
clutch fully without stretching or compressing one's legs. A bad seat
position usually leads to strain in knees and calf muscles.

C. Seat height:

Some of the newer cars have adjustable seat heights and that should be
adjusted to give complete support to inner things when the clutch is
pressed. Other factors to consider are wind screen visibility and the
meter visibility. The seat height should also be low enough to allow
atleast a fist of space between the head of the driver and the roof.

D. Steering tilt:
Steering should be tilted to give the driver a good view of the meter and
should be perpendicular to one's fist. The other factors to consider are
the space between the things and the steering wheel. If improper, this
adjustment can cause strain the hand joints.

E. Steering reach:
Some of the cars have a telescopic steering to enable people to pull/push
the wheel from them. The ideal setting is that the hands are not
outreached nor are they compressed. This avoids shoulder strain.

Apart from the above common ones, new innovations are being introduced in cars to help in achieving a better driving experience. Some of them are
lumbar disc support, inner thigh support, seat pan tilt etc., In addition
to the above, there are simple features like a proper head rest, an arm
rest, a dead pedal which have been existing for ages. All of these enable
better ergonomic seating position.

A few links on the Internet, around this area are:
Driving Ergonomics: SaferMotoring
Driving Ergonomics
title of your page
Driving Ergonomics - Posture & Ergonomics.
http://www.lanl.gov/orgs/pa/newsbull...andDriving.pdf
Ergonomics and seating comfort in driving safety- MT car magazine for motorists and drivers with latest auto reviews, light trucks and automotive news
6 Tips for Ergonomic Driving at The Ergonomenon
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Old 12th November 2007, 06:56   #2
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Car Ergonomics is one of the most important points left out by many drivers even when they are behind the wheels !

It can cause you to suffer from back, neck and shoulder pain and can cause cramping and poor circulation in your buttocks and legs. If you are not sat correctly and comfortably, it also has the potential to cause damage to your spine.
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Old 12th November 2007, 12:54   #3
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Good one. I'am following most of them you have mentioned. Most of the problems will also be caused with the seats itself (in low end cars)
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Old 12th November 2007, 13:39   #4
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What about the blind spot while driving some cars?? Do they also classify as a part of the car's 'ergonomics'
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Old 12th November 2007, 14:21   #5
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I wonder why only premium cars like Corolla have lumbar support on the driver seat. After a long drive in my esteem, my back aches very badly and after many adjustments to the seat it still doesnt compare to the comfort of a seat with lumbar support. I wish most cars were equipped with this and also with an arm rest.
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Old 12th November 2007, 22:07   #6
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H'lo

appreciate that someone has raised this topic. I am short in height ie. 5'7" but have found that while driving the honda city (old & new) I was in total control of the car but in the case of the cielo I was at loss although it had height adjustment.

I term this as driveability of a car.

Hence the cars with good driveability (with/without height adjustment) are :-

1. Honda city both new & old
2. Honda Accord
3. Opel Astra Old
4. Toyota Corolla
5. Octavia
6. Old zen 7. Old Fiat 1100

Cars with low driveability are :-

1. Opel Astra
2.Cielo
3. Palio
4. Accent
5. Esteem.

Prudently I like all the cars I have listed so no bias. I would appreciate if someone could explain this or is it just me.

Cheers and thanks
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Old 12th November 2007, 22:37   #7
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I think even the ergonomics covers the reach to the controls after adjusting the seating position.

What if you have adjusted the seating position correctly, so that the left leg stretches completely for pressing clutch, but the gear lever is somewhat ahead of reach of left hand.

I have observed in old 2nd gen WagonR (may not be applicable to all people), the steering wheel obstructs the dash indicator views, and everytime to see the dash you have to lean forward.
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Old 13th June 2011, 10:29   #8
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Unhappy The seat-setting dilemma

Hi,

I have been loving my Fiesta Sxi for close to two months now.

Some of the areas that I have found make a high end car so awesome seem to be: (my own observations, might be 100% wrong)

1. Bonnet visibility - they are visible to the driver, but not too "in your face" like a Qualis
2. The capsule of the car is almost ensconced by the large tyres (with a little shoulder to each tyre resembling a feline)
3. The position of the steering wheel is such that when driving, the angle of the column is almost parallel to the bonnet

Coming back to the Fiesta, I have been trying to get the driver seat adjustments right, but getting a little confounded. When I get the position right, the comfort is missing, and vice versa. I tried putting my dilemma in the picture (attachment).

I find position B (head is in line with bonnet and just above steering wheel) the best to drive, but quite uncomfortable (lower back support is missing) and position A very comfortable, but a little awkward to drive (too much height).

Thought of asking for your thoughts and suggestions.

Warm regards,
Naga
Attached Thumbnails
Car Ergonomics-ergo.jpg  

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Old 13th June 2011, 12:07   #9
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Default Re: The seat-setting dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by naga.sid View Post
Hi,


I find position B (head is in line with bonnet and just above steering wheel) the best to drive, but quite uncomfortable (lower back support is missing) and position A very comfortable, but a little awkward to drive (too much height).

Thought of asking for your thoughts and suggestions.

Warm regards,
Naga
Your image is confusion! Which one is A and which one is B? Assume B is one with seat right angle setup and A is inclined. Your set-up depends on your height, how long you are driving.

My (I am 5' 7") best position is, steering in top position (or normal, not down) seat adjusted two clicks back, back inclined two steps, I adjust lower seat so that under thigh us supported (three times I have pull the lever upwards). This gives set-up similar to A. May be I loose some visibility, but I got adjusted within two days!
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Old 13th June 2011, 12:45   #10
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Default Re: Car Ergonomics

Very good thread.
Can somebody please highlight whats the best position for the neck while driving? fully upright? slightly relaxed downwards?
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Old 13th June 2011, 12:55   #11
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Smile Re: Car Ergonomics

Hi RaguHolla,

Quote:
which one is A and which one is B? Assume B is one with seat right angle setup and A is inclined. Your set-up depends on your height, how long you are driving.
A and B are final positions of the head. The red arrows indicate the possibilities for adjustment.

I was driving an Indigo earlier and had just two dimensions (steering and height) of freedom not available. With that being available, my effort has been to achieve position B (feels like in a race car!).

I am 5' 10'' and drive close to an hour each way daily.

Regards,
NagaSid
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Old 13th June 2011, 13:09   #12
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Red face Re: Car Ergonomics

Recently I was told a good riving position is one where the leg stretches such that the brake pedal is completely depressed and the hands rest on the top most edge of the steering wheel. This way in case of any collision the chances of the leg and hand bones cracking is minimised.

I have seen many a drivers esp women leaning towards the steering wheel while driving which I feel is very dangerous.
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Old 13th June 2011, 14:04   #13
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Default Re: The seat-setting dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by naga.sid View Post
I find position B (head is in line with bonnet and just above steering wheel) the best to drive, but quite uncomfortable (lower back support is missing) and position A very comfortable, but a little awkward to drive (too much height).
By best to drive I feel that you mean best road visibility? The other position cannot be too bad either.

If I were in your place, I would drive around in the most comfortable position.
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Old 13th June 2011, 14:26   #14
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Default Re: Car Ergonomics

Any adjustment will lower the vision (couldn't get better word to describe it.) apart from keeping seat in right angle! I would follow what ghodlur suggested. However instead of break I adjust clutch. I find clutch travels more compared to Break! I won't bend seat much, because it induces fatigue in long ride(its my personal experience)!
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Old 5th March 2014, 13:36   #15
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Default Re: Car Ergonomics

Opening up an old thread - I wonder if the rules are differernt for S/MUV's vs sedans/hatchbacks? The former have a more upright seating position, and most websites cater to sedan positions only (for example, the one below).

http://ergonomics.about.com/od/car/s...ivers_seat.htm

I noticed recently that my left hamstrings start paining a bit on driving my Innova in city traffic. Maybe I'm doing something wrong ergonomically, or it may just be a by-product of my long runs in the morning.
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