With the holidays approaching, the time you spend in the driver’s seat is bound to increase. From holiday parties to family gatherings and vacations, your back may already be aching just thinking about the hours spent in the driver’s seat.
While it may not be possible to reduce the amount of time on the road this holiday season, there are a number of ways to make your vehicle more comfortable for long drives and added time spent behind the wheel, including making your driver’s seat more comfortable.
Steps to make your car seat more comfortable include:
Adjust the car seat fully for maximum support
Adjust the car seat back. First, center yourself completely into the driver’s seat and sit up tall in your seat. It is recommended to adjust the “rake” of your seat back so that you are sitting as straight up as possible, and parallel to the steering wheel, to help prevent back pain. When adjusting your seat, keep your bottom and back centered and completely inside the seat.
Adjust the car seat position. As far as seat position, this should always be adjusted in relation to the pedals. Use your seats various adjustment levers or switches your raise your seat up or down, or move it forward or back to ensure your legs are parallel to the ground when sitting and when the brake pedal is fully depressed, your legs should still have a bend in them of about 120 degrees.
Adjust the car steering wheel position. Finally, adjust your steering wheel for proper reach and access. While it’s not your driver’s seat, having a properly adjusted steering wheel will ensure you remain in the most comfortable, and safe, seated position as possible while driving. Place your wrist over the top of the steering wheel. To properly adjust, with your arm straight and not using too much effort, you should be able to place the wrist flat over the wheel while keeping your shoulder blades firmly placed against your seat back.
Make the driver's seat more supportive
Utilize built-in lumbar support (if available). If your vehicle has built-in power lumbar support, don’t forget to use it. Start with the lumbar support at a low level, and increase support as driving time lengthens.
Look for added neck support. Your neck is one often overlooked pain during driving, and several neck support pillows and products are available to help support your head and reduce pain while driving. Fully adjust your headrest, if possible, for maximum comfort and if additional support is needed consider looking for a neck pillow or support that is vehicle approved.
Add lumbar support. If your vehicle doesn’t come with adjustable lumbar support, or doesn’t provide enough support, consider purchasing an additional lumbar support or cushion for your back. These come in several varieties and can provide additional cushion to keep you sitting up straight without a curve to your back.
Add padding and cushioning for a soft car ride
- Purchase additional padding or seat cushions. Car seat covers and seat cushions can be purchased with memory foam or added seat padding for additional comfort. Some models offer heating capabilities to keep you warm on colder days if your vehicle is not equipped with seat heaters. Some seat covers provide added lumbar support if your vehicle does not provide enough.
Some top seat covers include:
Universal Sheepskin Seat Cover: This seat cover provides added warmth and comfort to your driver’s seat.
Memory Foam Seat Cover: This seat cushion and back support cover provide ample support and added memory foam comfort.
Heated Seat Cover with Cushion: For vehicles without a heated front seat option, this heated seat cover provides added comfort for cold areas.
Oxgord Seat Cover Full Cloth: While this set is for front and back seats, this basic cloth car seat cover will protect your vehicle interior from spills and dirt.
Super Soft Luxury Car Seat Cover: For those looking for the ultimate in car seat cover options, the Super Soft Luxury Car Seat cover offers padding, neck support, cushions, and more.
Add seat belt covers. Seat belts can dig into your shoulders and chest, so the addition of a padded seat belt cover can go a long way toward added driver comfort.
Keep the space around the driver's seat organized
- Increase your storage. A long road trip requires empty pockets and full concentration, so look for some handy in-vehicle storage compartments and organizers to store your wallet, phone, and other items to increase comfort while sitting and decrease possible distractions.
Dress appropriately for driving
While not necessarily connected to your driver’s seat, dressing for driving can go a long way toward helping make a seat more comfortable. If you are driving on a longer road trip, wear looser clothing that won’t constrict your circulation. Also, look at your footwear. Make sure you have comfortable shoes for driving, avoid bulky boots or high heels when driving whenever possible.
As always, it is recommended to stop and take a short break to walk around and stretch every few hours to ensure proper circulation and to help reduce aches and pains related to sitting in one position for too long.
The cars with the most comfortable car seats
When it comes to comfort, a few vehicles offer the most comfortable driver’s seats. While the most comfortable seats are going to be found in the ultra-luxury class of vehicles, many popular car models under $30,000 feature a focus on driver comfort. The top five of these vehicles, listed in alphabetical order, are:
Chevrolet Impala. The Chevrolet Impala offers a power-adjustable driver’s seat, with optional leather upholstery, and heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats. The seats provide ample sitting room and visibility is clear from the driver’s seat.
Honda Accord. The Honda Accord features supportive, roomy, and spacious front seats, with power adjustable and heated front seats available. The Honda Accord also features narrow roof supports providing added visibility for the driver.
Nissan Altima. The Nissan Altima features available heated front seats and steering wheel, as well as power-adjustable front seats for maximum comfort. Nissan first offered “zero gravity” seats in the 2013 Altima model for added comfort.
Subaru Outback. With cloth seating standard, the Subaru Outback offers available leather seating, heated seats, as well as a power-adjustable driver’s seat as options for increased comfort and the seats provide ample room.
Toyota Camry. The Toyota Camry features large, roomy front seats with numerous comfort options, the vehicle comes standard with cloth seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat, but offers a power-adjustable passenger seat and heated from seats as options.
Ensuring total comfort while driving not only helps you arrive at your final destination without pain, it also helps to ensure you arrive safely. Driver discomfort, aches, and pains can lead to distracted driving, which can lead to a crash incident. Be safe and drive in comfort.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Make Your Car Driver's Seat More Comfortable and was authored by Parker Hill.