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Seating pretty

Diagram courtesy of BMW M

Most Filipino drivers are taught by their dads, uncles, brothers, manong (the family driver) who were also taught by their dads, uncles, brothers and their manong. Unlike in developed countries where driver education is part of the school curriculum and have stringent standards, Filipinos depend on the information passed on from generation to generation by auto maintenance urban myths, driving styles and bad habits.

According to the Land Transportation Office, only 10 percent of licensed Filipinos have undergone training from a driving school and this does not mean that their graduates know how to properly drive. Filipinos neglect the science that comes with driving, hence undisciplined driving and a generation of bad habits.

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Attending the BMW M driving experience, one topic got me very interested: the very much-ignored proper seating position while driving. Proper sitting was given so much attention because it will make or break the experience of the said performance vehicles.  This made me think, if the correct size and cup of a brassier can make a woman look at least 5 pounds thinner, what would the correct seating position do to us Chic-drivers with our driving?

Apparently the advantages of correct seating positions merit a fresher, if not a more alive arrive.  Having the correct arm bend and foot position on the pedals can spell “ALIVE” during those life-changing, or life silencing, accidents on the road.  The correct seating position allows you to have a firmer and better grip on the wheel and better access to the pedals.  If sitting in a “hip-hop” style, you might not be able to depress the brake pedal properly in an emergency situation.  When you are too close to the wheel, there is no room for your arms to maneuver. Here are some tips to make your everyday driving experience better:

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Getting inside the car

1) Adjust the height. Try to sit as high up in the car as possible to get the best view of the road and possible dangers.

2) Check the proper distance from the pedals. Have your left foot propped flat against the footrest to push your self against the seat. This allows the driver to be firmly planted in the seat when cornering.

3) Try extending your arm to place your wrist on top of the steering wheel.  Your wrist should rest on the top part of the wheel to check if you have the correct distance from tit. You should be able to hold the steering wheel with an arc in your arms to allow good turning in both directions.

4) Check if your back is supported properly. Your shoulders should rest comfortably against the backrest. Most drivers slouch in the seat with only the lower back supported by the backrest. This makes it very tiring to drive over long periods of time because the weight of your upper body is resting on your hands on the wheel.

Correcting hand position on the steering wheel

1) Think of the steering wheel as a clock.  The best way to hold the wheel is at the 9 and 3 o’ clock position.  This will enable you to make less turning action but bigger turning radius.

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2) When making a U-turn, do a cross-arm technique. Commonly used by rally drivers,  one hand is secured to the steering wheel while you are making big turning actions, thus keeping the car from making unnecessary movements.

Most drivers have a difficult time adjusting to a closer, more ergonomic seat position but over time the benefits will be very clear in both safety and driving comfort.

For comments and suggestions, please email me at [email protected]; like  us on Facebook/chicdriven or follow us at twitter @chicdriven. Check out our blog www.chicdriven.com/wordpress for behind the scenes and other topics.

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TAGS: column, driver education, driving, Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason, Motoring
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