When you’re looking at buying a new car, one of the key elements that is often overlooked is the comfort factor. It’s sort of assumed that any car you buy will be comfortable enough to be satisfactory, and that is true to some extent, but ignoring comfort entirely is something you do at your own peril.
In both the short and long term, the comfort of your car can play a serious factor in your physical and mental wellbeing. Therefore, it’s important you bear the following in mind when driving.
How to be more physically comfortable
The first question to ask is what physical problems can poor comfort cause you as a driver?
- Lower back pain
- Joint stiffness – knee pain
- Muscle tightness
- Eye strain
While none of the above sound particularly threatening off the bat, they can lead to further, more serious problems down the line if left to their own devices. Particularly with something like lower back pain, it’s best to try and quell any issues now in order to prevent chronic back problems later in life.
Here’s what you should be looking out for in a car in comfort terms:
- Adequate space
- Ergonomic seats and comfortable upholstery
- A comfortable ride – namely avoiding cars with a rigid suspension
Once you have the car, here’s what you can be doing to ensure you’ve maximised your ride comfort:
- Make sure your seat position is correct with the back rest tilted slightly backwards
- Ensure the steering wheel is at the correct height and distance from you
- While a hand position of ten and two is recommended when you learn to drive, a hand position of eight and four will keep your shoulders relaxed.
- Position your mirrors correctly so you don’t have to strain to see them
- Try to maintain a relaxed driving position throughout a journey to reduce stiffness and cramping
- Ensure your seatbelt isn’t too tight
What about mental comfort?
Just as mental health understanding is becoming an ever more prominent part of general society, so is mental comfort in driving. Your mental wellbeing in the car should be considered paramount alongside your physical comfort – indeed, the two intertwine with one another, as mental issues while driving such as stress, anxiety and fatigue can lead to higher blood pressure, which in turn can bring on a variety of more serious physical health issues.
Your mental goals while driving should be:
- To keep stress levels at a minimum, remaining calm throughout the drive
- To be free of any anxiety in regards to driving
- To stay alert while driving
- To feel confident at the wheel each time you drive
You can help achieve these by:
- Avoiding stress inducing situations – avoiding heavy traffic, road rage incidents and setting off in good time for any appointments
- Considering how to reduce air and noise pollution factors while driving – choosing a car with good air quality and selecting suitable music
- Being well rested and prepared ahead of any long drive – have a good night’s sleep and know your route
- Choosing a reliable car with a good safety and reliability record
- Being physically comfortable in the vehicle
The mental side of things starts even before you’ve bought the car, as the process of purchasing a car, especially where monthly finance payments are to be involved, can be highly stressful in itself. If you are choosing a finance deal, be sure to choose one you know you can afford for the term. If you’re struggling get finance because of poor credit, a lender such as Go Car Credit can help you to access the funds you need to secure a new car.
Considering comfort is such an important part of our daily lives, from the bed we sleep in to the clothes we get cosy in on an evening, it’s quite surprising that it’s not a more highlighted aspect of the driving experience. Remember, keeping your physical and mental comfort in mind when driving won’t only help you in the immediate, but it will also benefit you in the long term.