Car Ergonomics For Buying A New Car?

What Does Car Ergonomics Got To Do With Buying A New Car?

Green car ergonomics

Many of us today are in front of computers for all, if not a large portion of our working day. We are aware of the importance of posture and the ergonomic equipment that can be used to maintain our health and well being.

But just how many of us understand the impact ergonomics have on us outside the workplace, for instance when we are in the car driving from place to place. Unless we are professional drivers it is unlikely that we are aware of the implications of poor ergonomics in our cars.

We have all had the experience when visiting a dealer to find a new car, of being told to sit in and see how comfortable it is.

The reason for that is that the seat has been placed at the manufacturer recommended position to achieve maximum comfort; which is great if you happen to be the standard weight, height and size the manufacturer used as a model in the design of the car. The majority of us are not and it is essential to find out how easy it is to adjust the seat to you.

Car Ergonomics Is Not Just About Car Seat Ergonomics

But car ergonomics is not just about the seat. The layout of the cars instrument panel, should be designed in a way that we can quickly glance at them and read the instruments without having to move our position.

So the placement of the instruments means that the ones we use most such as the speedometer and fuel gauge are in our line of sight and are easy to read.

That is why satellite navigation systems for the car now include an audible warning when you go over the maximum speed limit.

Some cars are fitted with a cruise option so the car runs at the speed the driver has set and does not go up or down until the driver takes over manual control.

But as these additional options are not available on all car models and are often an additional cost, so its always best to make sure that you check the instrument panel layout preferably during a test drive.

How To See If This Car Suits You Ergonomically

Are you at driving ease?

The other control mechanisms in the car need to be within easy reach to prevent stretching. In particular the foot pedals need to be placed so that you can easily reach them and so you can move from one to the other with ease.

If you have to keep glancing down at the pedals to see which one your foot is on then you have a problem. The size and close vicinity of the pedals to each other can be a major issue for people with mobility issues in their feet or legs, so they would probably prefer the automatic car which can be adapted ergonomically to provide partial or full hand control for them.

See also Driving Ergonomics.

Are you able to be in control?

Other controls which should be operable and within easy hand reach, without the need to take your eyes from the road are usually on the steering wheel or at the driver's side.

The ones on the steering wheel are usually the controls for lights, indicators, radio volume and the vehicle horn. These should be arranged so that the ones used more frequently such as lights and indicators are on push and pull levers attached to the wheel, by glancing at the instrument panel the driver can see which lights and indicators they have switched on.

Establish your own car ergonomics

Of course, every car is different. Take some time to get used to your car ergonomics before heading out to drive. Doing this can save lives.

Mirror Adjustment

Potential buyers need to check the mirrors are adjustable and are of the regulated size which allows the driver to see clearly when maneuvering the car.

Nowadays most mirrors can be adjusted with the push of a button, but this only adjusts the exterior wing mirrors and the interior one has to be done by hand. It is important the the interior one is at the correct height for the driver so the do not have to stretch and they can adjust the angle to allow a better line of sight.

The height of the vehicle and the size and angle of the doors can impact on the driver and passenger's ability to get in and out of the vehicle with ease. Many accidents and injuries can occur if the vehicle is perhaps too high and the driver or their passengers have to strain to get in or out of the car.

Do remember to consider if you have family members who are elderly or have disabilities.

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