Driving seems easy when you are of normal height. But what happens when your feet cannot reach the pedals? Here are some guidelines for short drivers.
There is no doubt that sitting behind the steering wheel as a short driver is one of the most challenging moments of most, if not all short motorists. Much as being short may not be your own making, driving is still possible if you put the negative stigma, if any, aside and you get cruising.
Abby Ssemanda, a long distance driver opines that unlike tall motorists, short drivers in most cases have to put in a lot more concentration and focus when they get on the road. This, he says, is not only draining physically but also mentally. The challenging bit, he observes, is when you are driving long cars such as the saloon Toyota Mark II or the Toyota Crown.
Getting extra cushions
“When you are driving such long cars, you have to get an extra cushion or two to elevate your height to enable you drive well. The number of cushions to use is determined by your level of comfortability and the softness of the cushions you are using. If they were made out of soft sponge, you could need more to reach the steering wheel,” Ssemanda advises.
As a short driver, the main challenge is when you are either parking your car in an area that has visible wall boundaries or when you are reversing. This is because you are unable to see the edge of the car which helps you decide when you are to stop. If you do not use cushions, you stand the risk of knocking the motorist ahead of you or the one driving behind you. At worst, you can ram into a wall as you try to imagine if you have really parked well or not.
Adjust the driver’s seat, steering wheel
Cars manufactured with modern technology come with features of adjusting not only the driver’s seatbelt but the steering wheel too. These adjustments are mainly to enable you improve or adjust to a height you are comfortable to drive with proper vision of the edge of the car, both at the rear and the front.
It is mandatory for every motorist to wear their seatbelt every time they get behind a steering wheel, not because they should, but because it keeps you safe. There is, however, a category of drivers who think that seatbelts are for filling space and only wear them either when they are approaching a traffic checkpoint or at site on a traffic officer from a distance.
George Tumwine, a town-round driver thinks that unlike tall drivers, whose seatbelts usually run across the chest or stomach and the shoulder, it is possible and highly likely that the seatbelt will tend, if not actually cross your neck if you are a short driver, the more reason you could end up never using it at all.
“You may have to consider visiting your mechanic or a spare parts dealership to have your seatbelt adjusted to your height as one of the solutions. The advantage by adjusting your seatbelt is that it could save your life in the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident or get arrested or served with a penalty receipt,” Tumwine advises.
Tumwine opines that driving well is in most cases determined by a number of factors, among them the comfort of the driver’s seat, including the headrest. Much as headrests can be adjusted, shorter or longer mostly to the advantage of tall drivers, in some scenarios, the adjustment patterns or positions do not cater for short drivers. You have to sort yourself out if you need to use it.
“If you adjust the headrest to its lowest level and the back of your head still does not reach it, a local fabricating motor workshop may help you get one. There are also provisions of getting temporary headrests from shops that deal in car accessories,” Tumwine says.
According to Drive-safely.net, an online portal, another safety issue is your distance from the air bag. The portal says tall drivers sit farther back and are less impacted by the air bag during an accident. Short drivers sit very close to the air bag and can be injured by the air bag itself during an accident. “The air bag is not a cushy pillow. It blasts from the dashboard or steering wheel at up to 200 miles per hour and if you are sitting too close to it, you can suffer air bag injuries,” it states.
Short drivers and accelerating
While driving as you steer is quite important, the fact that you have to stretch your neck to keep monitoring the edge of the car to avoid knocking other motorists determines whether your feet reach the accelerator or not.
Mathias Tibesigwa, a driving instructor, advises short drivers to always push their driver seats forward to enable their feet touch the pedals but also use cushions or adjust your seat to view ahead.
“When you do not push the driver seat forward and you choose to only steer as you view where you are going, there is a likelihood that at some point you will stretch your neck. By so doing, your feet lose contact with the pedals. At the end of the day, you could fidget and step on the accelerator thinking it is the brake or clutch or step on the brake thinking it is the accelerator as you drive forward or control the car,” Tibesigwa explains.