Tips for Keeping Comfy in the Driver’s Seat

Mature driver sitting in cab of modern truck

Sitting in one place for hours on end is not exactly the biggest perk of a trucking career. Yes, you might get to see the world from your position within the cab, but it can get pretty uncomfortable too. We’ve written previously about ways to feel at home in the cab, but discomfort while driving can not only be a nuisance, it can also become a health concern. That’s why we’re diving deeper into how truckers can better settle into the driver’s seat. From proper posture and seat positioning to finding the right seat cushions and more, here are our tips for keeping comfy in the driver’s seat: 

Proper Posture: It can be easy to dismiss proper posture as a product of our parents’ desire for us to simply look presentable. However, posture is much more than standing up straight for the sake of appearances. Putting your body in proper alignment is a signature aspect of health, one that we would be unwise to ignore. In fact, poor posture while sitting can lead to a number of negative consequences1, including:

  • Back and Neck Pain, together with herniated discs and pinched nerves, caused by pressure on your spine and vertebrae
  • Impaired Breathing, caused by the compression of your diaphragm and lungs
  • Intestinal Blockage, caused by the compression of your stomach cavity
  • Poor Blood Circulation, due to improper seat positioning

It’s worth noting that each of these problems that stem from poor sitting posture are compounded when in the cab, as all the bumps and jolts from the road are even more jarring to your body than if you were simply sitting at a desk or in your recliner at home1. Luckily, correcting your posture can not only help you avoid those health risks, but also provides multiple positive effects2, including: 

  • Keeping Bones and Joints in Correct Alignment, which helps you use your muscles correctly, avoid abnormal wearing of joint surfaces, and prevent degenerative arthritis and joint pain
  • Reducing Stress on Spinal Ligaments, which helps you hold your spinal joints together and minimize the likelihood of injury
  • Allowing Muscles to Work Efficiently, which helps your body use less energy and prevent muscle fatigue
  • Avoiding Back and Muscle Pain by helping to prevent muscle strain and overuse

Clearly, proper posture is essential for keeping comfortable in the cab. The American Chiropractic Association offers a number of tips for maintaining good posture, including proper posture while sitting2. Here are their Posture Tips:

  1. When not on the gas or brake pedals, keep your feet flat on the floor
  2. Keep your ankles in front of your knees, and do not cross your legs
  3. Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat
  4. Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips
  5. Adjust your chair’s backrest to support your low- and mid-back, or use a back support cushion
  6. Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground
  7. Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time by shifting your weight and taking breaks at rest-stops when you can

Seat Position: Another big part of keeping comfy in the driver’s seat – and a big part of maintaining proper posture – is adjusting the seat itself into an ideal position3. Here are a few things to consider when aligning your driver’s side seat:

  • Seat Height: Raise the seat as high as it can go while still allowing you to keep your feet flat on the floor, with the ability to reach the pedals with your full foot (not just your toes). This helps you avoid having to strain your neck to see over the dash or steering wheel
  • Seat Length: Ensure the seat is extended enough to support the full length of your thighs, while still allowing a small gap between the end of the seat and your knees. This allows you to increase the surface area supporting your weight, taking the pressure off your back and buttocks
  • posture_04Back/Lumbar Support: Adjust the seatback angle until it supports the full length of your back – you should feel an even amount of pressure from your hips to your shoulders. Leaning further back can seem like a comfortable thought, but if you go too far, you’ll naturally stick your neck and head forward, which can cause fatigue and pain
  • Seat Angle: Because your knees should be at or below the same level as your hips, your seat should be angled so that there is approximately 110° between your body and legs
  • The Headrest: The top of the headrest should be level with the top of your head and adjusted to practically touch your head when seated

Seat Cushions: It’s also important to note that you can have great posture, and still not always be comfortable sitting in one place for an extended period of driving. That’s why some truckers consider a seat cushion to be their closest ally in the fight for comfort. Specialty cushions not only help with posture by reducing pressure on your tailbone – which helps you sit straight for longer periods of time – they’re also made of more comfortable material than most truck seats. To keep you informed of the different types of seat cushions available4 – from reliable brands like Airhawk, Aylio, Cushina, CushionCare, and Xtreme Comforts – we’ve put together a quick list:

More Quick Tips: Finally, in addition to body posture, seat position, and comfy cushions, you can also improve your in-cab sitting experience with these easy tips: 

  • Remember to empty your pockets before putting your rig into drive. Objects in the front pockets can annoyingly poke you, while items in your back pockets can disrupt your posture and cause back pain4
  • Instead of buying a specialty cushion, simply swap the driver’s side seat cushion with the less-used passenger’s side cushion4 or look into buying a new factory seat pad4
  • Beaded seat covers can massage your back and buttocks, and contribute to increased airflow4
  • Truckers aren’t known for wearing skinny jeans, but avoiding any type of tight clothing can increase your range of motion and comfort4
  • Icing sore areas of your body, and alternating with heat, can help you manage pain5

Driving for a living is not always an easy life, but it shouldn’t have to be consistently uncomfortable. We hope these tips for keeping comfy in the driver’s seat are helpful, whether you drive a dump truck or a flatbed truck. And we want to hear from you – how do you keep comfortable in the cab? Let us know in the comments below.

 

1. Truckers Logic – The Essentials of Good Posture in Trucking
2. ACA Today – Maintaining Good Posture
3. Big Road – Driving Posture: How to Steer Clear of Injury
4. CDL Training Spot – 14 Ways to Make Your Truck Seat More Comfortable
5. AllTruckJobs – 5 Easy Ways Truck Drivers Can Avoid Back Pain

 

Ethan Smith HeadshotAbout the Author

Ethan Smith

Ethan is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the commercial brands Commercial Truck Trader, Commercial Web Services, and Equipment Trader. Ethan believes in using accessible language to elevate conversations about industry topics relevant to commercial dealers and their buyers.


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