It’s crucial to make adjustments before setting off on a journey; you’ll be comfortable, and more importantly, safe. Here are some handy tips…
Given the many extra safety features and gadgets today’s cars come equipped with, driving is a far more comfortable experience than it used to be. That said, those features are only of benefit if you know how to use them.
First things first – is your seat optimally positioned? If you share your car with others, you may find it’s been pushed back or forwards, leaving you either too far from the wheel and pedals, or uncomfortably cramped. Sit into the car and make any necessary adjustments. Make sure that any stray objects (bottles, children’s toys) haven’t rolled under your feet – these can affect your use of the pedals.
Make sure that any stray objects (bottles, children’s toys) haven’t rolled under your feet – these can affect your use of the pedals.
A lot of drivers forget to make adjustments to their steering wheels, resulting in overextended or uncomfortably bent arms, which can be dangerous. Many vehicles now feature adjustable steering columns, which position the wheel in accordance with your body’s proportions. Wheel adjustments should be made in tandem with your seat; the correct seating position and wheel height will allow a clear view of the dashboard through the rim. Once you’re comfortable, it’s time to assess your mirrors.
It’s essential that your mirrors are correctly positioned; you need to be able to see traffic behind, and on either side of you. Side mirrors are easily bumped and knocked by irresponsible drivers; do a quick check before setting off, make sure you can see traffic on either side of your car.
Here’s how to quickly perform a mirror adjustment check:
- Driver-side mirror; from the driver’s seat, lean your head toward the driver-side window until it just touches the glass. Adjust the mirror until you see just beyond the side of your car. You should not see the side of your car, but rather the space that would be the traffic lane to the right of the vehicle.
- Passenger-side mirror; lean as far over to the centre of the car as you can. Adjust the passenger-side mirror until you see just beyond the side of your car. Again, you should not the see side of your car, but rather the space that would be the traffic lane to the left of the vehicle.
- Rear-view mirror; Adjust so you can see behind you.
Make sure you can see traffic on either side of your car.
If you’re driving a car for the first time, take the time before setting off to familiarise yourself with its levers, dials and indicators. Trying to figure these out while driving is distracting, and could result in an accident. Have a read through the manual so you know how to switch on headlights, windscreen wipers, car demister/ heater and work the radio.
Finally before taking off, buckle up and ensure you wear your seatbelt. When travelling with several people in the car you should routinely inspect all seat belts in your vehicle, checking that; they are not cut or badly frayed, they operate correctly – when pulled out fully, they should retract automatically and the buckles work properly. Stick to the general rule and law regardless of the vehicle you are in, if seat belts are fitted they must be worn.
Adjusting your seating position and visibility reduces strain making driving more comfortable and safer, placing you in better control if the unexpected should happen.