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Surprisingly, many ergonomic risk factors (e.g., awkward postures, excessive force, and vibration) exist in relation to driving. Such risk factors become increasingly apparent during distance driving. Driving ergonomics has an overall goal of fitting the driver to their car so they can drive in a way that maximizes the natural ability of their body to move and respond to physical stress.
Driving puts an employee at greater risk for low back trouble than sitting and standing jobs/activities. Thus, the frequency of discomfort increases with the number of miles driven on an annual basis.
Commonly reported discomforts include:
Causes of such discomfort often involve the following:
Tips to improve your driving habits start with reading the vehicle manual and understanding all the adjustments that you can do. Many vehicles allow for the following adjustments:
It is also important to do the following whether driving short or long distances:
The following driving practices should be avoided:
Overall, it is important to recognize that poor seated postures are generally considered to contribute to WMSDs. Good posture is a key feature in the prevention of back pain during driving tasks. However, even good postures can result in discomfort. Thus, it is important to note that no single posture is ideal if maintained for long periods of time. Adopting a range of comfortable postures, and frequent changes of posture, may help to delay the onset of discomfort in driving.
Last Modified: June 10, 2013