Why it's important to check your car seat position before driving away

I was so far away from the pedals that I couldn't exert enough pressure on the brake pedal in time to stop the car.

BHPian akshye recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So, a few months back, I take my car to a detailer for interior detailing. They clean the car, and park outside the shop, facing the wall. (Note: This place is on its own private property and not beside a road.)

I get into the car, start the engine, put in the reverse, look into IRVM, and release the clutch - before I know it, the car zooms back, I try to brake, but it's a little too late. By the time car comes to a complete stop, it just touches a brand-new car, parked behind. The parked car's bumper reflector comes loose, my car is intact. The other car doesn't suffer from any visible damage. (It had been handed to the detailer for detailing/coating and the owner had left.)

Since the detailer also has its own garage, they say they'll fix the other car and ask me to be careful.

The mistake on my part was, I did not check the seat position before starting the car. All these washing places, typically have a habit of pulling the seats as far back as possible for easy reach to clean the interiors. When I started driving, I was so far from the pedals, I couldn't release the clutch pedal in a controlled fashion, and I could not exert enough pressure on the brake pedal in time to stop the car.


Adjust/verify your seating position before you start the engine after you take the car back from garages, washing centres, tyre shops, valet services, etc. I was lucky that time to escape with a negligible brush to a parked car but it could have been severe had it been a different place with people around.

Here's what BHPian tharian had to say about the matter:

It was a lesson for sure, but curious that you didn't feel the seat was pushed back as soon as you sat on it. I can notice if the seat has been adjusted even a bit in my car and I made a mark on the rail so I can adjust it to the original sweet spot.

Here's what BHPian Thad E Ginathom had to say about the matter:

From an early age, I was taught a belts-and-braces method of starting a car engine.

  • Check that the gear lever is in neutral (this is part of the British driving test)
  • Depress the clutch
  • Start the engine

I have never thought about it before, but step 2 would also tell us if the seat has been moved and our feet are not in the right place for the pedals. It is, in itself, a good reason to practice this extra-safe routine.

It is also part of my practice to use the mirrors a lot. That is another way to become aware that they and/or the seats have been moved.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Power to the people