Driving puts many unnatural stresses on the arms and upper body. Following a few hints will help you arrive at your destination more safely and with fewer aches and pains.
First arrange your driving space
- Sit upright and well back in the seat. Raise or lower the seat so you can clearly see both the road and the instruments. Your knees should be level with your hips. Use a seat wedge (available from auto stores) if you are too low.
- Slide the seat forwards or backwards so that you can fully depress the pedals without your back lifting off the seat back.
- Adjust the angle of the seat back — it should be reclined from a vertical position by only 10 to 20 degrees.
- Move the headrest so that it sits in the middle of your head — the centre of the head rest should be closest to the tops of your ears.
- Make sure that the head restraint is fully locked in place.
- Tilt the seat cushion until it supports your thighs evenly and does not rub against the backs of your knees.
- Move the steering wheel down and towards you so that you can place your hands comfortably on the wheel with your wrists straight at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. Adjust its angle so that the air bag in the wheel faces your chest.
- Remove your wallet from your back pocket — it causes your body to twist while driving.
- Adjust your sideview mirrors. Lean your head against the right-side window and adjust the driver’s side mirror so you can just see the right rear corner of the car; lean over to the other side so that your head is centred in the windshield. Adjust the left-side mirror so that you can just see the left rear corner.
- Don’t place a cushion between yourself and the seat back, and avoid placing anything under the seats — objects can easily slide forwards beneath the pedals.
Then clean and deodorize
If you have spilled some smelly liquid inside your car, or if one of the children has vomited on the upholstery, first blot the excess moisture with a paper towel, then pick up the dried residue (if any).
- Sprinkle baking soda over the affected area and leave it to absorb any smells for an hour or so before vacuuming it up.
- Mix a liquid cleaner. For leather upholstery, make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water; for vinyl and cloth, mix five parts warm water with one of white vinegar. Scrub the area using your cleaning agent and a lint-free cloth. Wet another cloth with warm water and rub again to remove the cleaning agent.
- Don’t use too much water when cleaning your car’s interior and leave the doors open after cleaning to let any moisture evaporate.
- Look on the underside of the car’s doors. Some vehicles have small drain holes that allow any stray water to drain out. If your car has these, clear them periodically with a pipe cleaner to head off musty smells and (eventually) rust.