What to check for driving safely – Part 1

Worn tires, defective brakes, incorrect seat and steering wheel adjustments, improper load security - all of these can affect safe driving. The following information and tips can support you staying safe on the road.

Seating position

Correct adjustment of the seating position increases safety while driving and helps to avoid pain in the neck and the back. The following points should be taken into account:

  • Seat height: select a seat height that gives you both a good view of the dashboard and a good view to all sides. A too low seat height has a detrimental effect on the correct position of the legs. The seat should not be set too high, neither. If there is too little distance between legs and steering wheel, this may restrict your leg mobility.

  • Seat: move the seat back just far enough so that your knees are still slightly bent when using the pedals.

  • Backrest: take a sitting position that is as upright and as comfortable as possible; the shoulder blades should always touch the backrest, even while steering. This prevents a bent sitting posture potentially leading to back pain. A backrest that is strongly tilted backwards can lead to delayed reaction times in dangerous situations. In addition, the so-called lumbar support can also be adjusted in most cars, which provides further support for the lower back. This adjustment option is usually located to the left of the seat.

  • Headrest: the correct adjustment of the headrest is important to protect head and neck as best as possible in the event of an accident. The top of the head should be on a level with the top edge of the headrest. The distance between head and headrest should be as small as possible. For this reason, a strongly tilted backrest should be avoided.

Steering wheel position

The steering wheel position can be changed and adapted to your needs as well. These settings not only contribute to a relaxed journey, but also ensure optimum functioning of the airbag.

  • Distance to the steering wheel: for an ideal distance to the steering wheel, your arms should be slightly bent. Care should be taken to ensure that the shoulders continue to touch the backrest. It is recommended to keep 25 to 30 centimetres of distance between the upper body and the front airbag (located in the centre of the steering wheel).

  • Adjusting the steering wheel position: You will find options for making fine adjustments to the steering wheel position in the operating instructions. For a relaxed sitting posture, it is recommended to angle the steering wheel as much as possible.

Seat belt adjustment

Wearing a seat belt prevents serious or even fatal injuries. Belts save lives, but they need to be properly adjusted to provide optimal protection.

  • Position of the belt: depending on body size, care should be taken to adjust the belt position accordingly. Adjust the height setting of the belt at the B-pillar so that the belt runs between shoulder and neck (across the collarbone). If the belt is positioned too high, the belt will cut into the neck.

  • Putting on the seat belt: pay attention, that the belt is not entangled and that it rests against the upper body as tight as possible. The pelvic restraint should run across the hips – as well as tight as possible. Avoid fastening your seatbelt over thick coats and jackets, as the belt will be too loose.

  • Child restraint: when giving children a lift, make sure that they are buckled up in accordance with the law. The correct booster seat must be suitable for the size and body weight of the respective child. Country-specific information can be obtained from e.g., automobile clubs.

Mirror adjustments

A basic requirement for being safe on the road is a good view of the surrounding traffic. Therefore, all mirrors should be adjusted to the driver. In order to be able to adjust the mirrors optimally, you should first take the sitting position you will have when driving.

  • Rearview mirror: this mirror is correctly adjusted if you can see the entire rear window (as little as possible of the vehicle's interior).

  • Exterior mirror: every so often, even experienced drivers adjust the exterior mirrors incorrectly due to lack of knowledge. The mirror is correctly adjusted if you can see both the road directly behind the vehicle and the distant road behind you. At the same time, a part of your own vehicle should still be visible in the mirror.


[1] https://www.adac.de

[2] www.oeamtc.at

[3] https://www.123fahrschule.de

[4] https://www.tuev-nord.de

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