When it’s done wrong, sitting in your car can cause everything from hip problems to broken noses. Alix Capper Murdoch Atkinson, a motoring expert and stunt car professional, explains everything you need to know...
Don’t hold your steering wheel with one hand
“You don’t have control,” says Alix. “Plus if you have the hand on top of the steering wheel, which is how a lot of people drive, and you hit something and the airbag goes off, basically your arm is hit by explosive force. It could break your wrist. It can even smack your hand back so it slams into your face. That’s why people who have been in accidents often have black eyes. They say they hit the steering wheel, but really they hit themselves.”
Make sure your arms have a slight bend when you’re sitting
“When you’re about to have an accident, you tense up. If you don’t have a bend in your arms, then the force goes up straight to your shoulders, and you snap your head down. It rips the muscles on the back of your neck. That’s why people get whiplash.”
Tilt your seat slightly down, not flush against the back of your knees
“When the chair is right behind your knees, you’re closing your pelvis, and that’s a really bad position. That’s why people start to feel back or hip problems.” Also put your chair forward enough that you can touch your shoulders to the back of it without straining your arms while reaching for the steering wheel.
Keep a slight bend in your knees
This can save your life in an accident. “When an accident happens, your brake heats up and the pedal can go farther down than normal. If you’re on your tip toes, you won’t have full control. But also if you’re locking out your knees, you can dislocate your legs in an accident.” Check this by making sure you can reach the floor underneath the brake with the ball of your foot.