Good driving position – learn from the pros

Drivers licence acquired

Most people or drivers remember vividly the day they were issued with a drivers license for the very first time authorizing them as competent enough behind the wheel on public roads. The feeling upon achieving this is ecstatic and long-lasting but the responsibilities that come along with the document are enormous; defensive driving or accidents avoidance, consistent compliance to road signs and regulations, continuous vehicle road worthiness checks, driving fatigue management and last but not the least drivers health management. The topic here is centered around good driving posture on road cars with particular comparison to Formula One drivers sitting position, what the experts say and do we all drivers (road cars) realize the consequences of driving on an incorrect posture?

Correct driving posture (in road cars)

Our day-to-day life requisites calls for frequent trips to & from work places and any other long hours of driving trips expose drivers to inherent risks associated with incorrect sitting posture. Most of these ergonomics risks are caused by the cars we drive around and our sitting habits when driving, such as lack of head and leg room in the cabin, incorrect positioning of the drivers seat and lack of adequate breaks when driving long distances. The cars that we drive around on daily basis must also include provision for seats for babies in case someone travels around in their company. Correct driving posture may safe the driver and occupants from serious road accidents as many studies have shown.

Recommended driving posture

Comfortable sitting position





Road car driving positions as recommended by professionals

The more the driver adheres to these procedures the less vulnerable he/she is exposed to ergonomics risks associated with driving and the more enjoyable driving is meant to be. You will realize that most modern cars have adjustable seats, forward and backward move, adjustable back rest which can be tilted, and head rest which moves up downwards, only for the sake of good driving posture. Whenever a driver embarks on a trip, basic procedures must be adhered to, to ensure the safety of all car occupants including the driver as well; many drivers do not carry out pre-trip car inspection to ascertain the car’s road worthiness, first aid kits contents check, spare wheel pressure and many other important components that can safe lives on the road.

Driving position: Road car vs Formula 1 car

A simple comparison of two drivers sitting postures between a normal road car and a Formula 1 car is assessed based on the modern car designs that exist today. Depending on which school of technological advancement one subscribes to, the most advance technology associated with Formula 1 seat designs including simulators follow the best practice and approval by FIA. These high safety standards are also emphasized and adhered to by manufacturers on normal road cars to attract sales, trust and reputation.

Formula One Car - Driver sitting postureDriver sitting position - road car





F1 driver sitting position (left) vs road car sitting position (right)

From the analysis of the two illustrations above, it is clear that safety of both drivers is of paramount importance and the end results are what we see in modern road cars and Formula one cars. The idea is to leverage on the technical engineering capability that mankind can offer with breath taking safety standards and comfort. The Formula One seat is designed such that the driver is almost lying so that the center of gravity is as low as possible to improve car balance and aerodynamics.

Learn from the professionals

Formula one cars are designed and constructed to the highest safety standards available on the planet, not to mention the lightening speeds at which these cars carry and the braking forces or energy released when in action. It is important to learn

a little on how this is achieved from the very guys who propel these type of machinery. The puzzle is that during race events, the Formula 1 driver endures more than 2hrs of non-stop driving while a normal car driver is bound to get breaks on chosen stoppages. The difference between a Formula One race driver and a normal car driver is on the race preparation, scheduled and rigorous training, machinery on hand (seat design) which all contribute to reduced risks on ergonomics. The Formula One car seat is designed to manage and reduce endurance pains to the lowest possible level as opposed to a road car seat. Seasonal drivers allude to such sentiments and here is some of their views:

Lewis Hamilton: “This is actually so comfortable, it’s very easy to fall asleep through practice”, he said. This is literally the angle I sit in. The seat is molded to my body so there’s no room for movement.”

“The seat is very light, we try and keep it as light as it can possibly be and it’s all carbon-fibre. All you can really see is the top of your tyres.”

Well from the look of things and what we know, the Formula One drivers seem to be happy with what the cars can offer in terms of comfort and safety, so we take their words!

Why do we care most?Back pains associated with improper driving posture

It is clear that when one embarks on a driving road trip, there are consequences resulting from driving such as bad ergonomics and safety concerns. The consequences are more detrimental in long haul, repeated trips stretching for thousands of kilometers if the situation is not managed properly. The long term effects can be bodily damage to the neck, elbows, back bones, knees, angles – mostly jointed parts of the human body. So it is important to do what is right while there is still a chance to avoid these health problems by simply following the right procedures when driving road cars. Home or gym exercises are also important to keep our bodies in shape and ready to take up these challenges.

Check out what is available for home exercising: home exercise equipment

What’s next for car manufacturers?

Our hopes are pinned to the technological advancement of car manufacturers as we thrive for robust safety standards including ergonomics within car cabins. As much as we are slowly moving away from cars powered by carbon fuel to environmentally friendly electric cars, ergonomically sound car seat designs must be at the top of the agenda for every road car manufacturer. Customer satisfaction and trust should be the game plan.

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3 thoughts on “Good driving position – learn from the pros

  1. Super interesting information! I never gave much thought to what position my body is while driving, I just hop in and drive! I do tend sit more straight up, that just feels more comfortable to me but my husband almost looks like a Formula 1 driver; laid back, LOL. 

    On long drives my back does get stiff, do you recommend any seating pads that would help alleviate that? I have a 12 hour drive coming up in a few weeks. Also, is there are suggested hand placement? I was taught to place my hands 10 and 2, but my sons’ driver instructor told him 3 and 9? 

    Thank you for sharing your insight on this!! I took away some good points I didn’t know about!

    1. Hi Sydney

      Good to know that you still follow the rules from your driving lessons. The recommended hands position is 3 and 9, but with slightly bent arms (not fully stretched) in case there is an emergency breaking situation so that you don’t damage your limbs. All the best on your trip.


  2. Taking a bit of a drive recently I can say that the correct seating posture can make all the difference when it comes to driving. I especially appreciate your advice about babies, as many people take this for granted. Fatigue can be a real disadvantage when driving, so it’s good to know that posture can help in this area as well. The F1 driver position is pretty remarkable, thanks for sharing. I know some people who will find your post as interesting as I have, so I’ll share with them also. Well done!

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