Why Driving Is A Pain The Neck

Friday, 2 July 2010

Russell White from Driver Safety.com.au said many drivers, particularly those who spend a large amount time behind the wheel, should look at their seating position and at how they place their hands on the wheel.

With information learned from testing and training the transport industry, Mr White said that it is widely known the majority of injuries suffered by truck drivers are the result of poor posture and not from vehicle crashes.

“Back pain is one of the leading causes of lost productivity and there is an increasing body of evidence to suggest that poor driving posture is a contributing factor,” he said.

“We rightly spend a lot of time paying attention to ergonomics behind a stationary office desk, but very little to the ergonomics of an ‘office’ which is constantly moving. These muscular-skeletal issues are amplified when behind the wheel.

“Taking the time to adjust seating position correctly will increase your ability to better control the vehicle and decrease the likelihood of neck and back pain – this is especially important if more than one driver uses the vehicle.”

Keeping your hands at quarter to three, as opposed to ten-and-two lowers your centre of gravity, thereby putting less strain on your neck and back, Mr White advised.

“From a driver perspective, you immediately have more control over the wheel, meaning your steering should be smoother and you won’t need to lift your back from the seat in order to turn the wheel,” he said.

Mr  White said while the old ten-to-two method was still being taught,  it encouraged people to form sloppy steering habits.

“At that position it doesn’t take long for one arm to be leaning on the door frame and the other hand to drop down to the bottom quarter of the steering wheel,” he said.

“In the end a driver just tends to do whatever feels comfortable in order to get the job done without realising that their long term health and driving ability is compromised.”

Mr White lists three points why quarter to three (nine and three) is a better driving technique

  • It’s the widest part of the wheel and gives you more control over its movement
  • It reduces your centre of gravity helping you reduce tension on your back and neck
  • It gives you a better seating position and reduces driver fatigue – posture

Russell White is widely regarded as one of Australia's leading Road Safety advocates and has been at the forefront of groundbreaking research into driver training. Amongst this research was a PhD study focused on the biomechanics of the driver and how these impact on the driver’s performance and was a world first in this field.

More From Driver Safety

  • Corporate Drive Days

    We can help to make your next drive event a truly unforgetable experience Find out more

  • National Seniors Driver Safety Program

    National Seniors are offering a $20 Caltex gift card with every 3 unit course sold Find out more

  • Driving Simulators

    Our driving simulator allows you to experience the latest in driver training technology Find out more