In 2018, Uber changed their driver policy to make sure that drivers took a break of at least six hours following a ten hour shift. Regardless of the consideration, these updated guidelines show to their workers, almost half a day is a huge amount of time to be spent in the driver’s seat. The RAC has noted that, without taking their physical health into consideration, anyone who drives for more than 20 hours each week is more likely to suffer from back pain and issues elsewhere in the body, including reduced vision.
Of course, with PCO drivers pulling in ten-hour shifts often enough for the 2018 regulation to be put into place, they will need to think carefully about how to make it through long periods of driving without a break. This is why it is so crucial to take driver ergonomics into account. Adopting the correct posture, and ensuring that you have adjusted the interior of your car appropriately, will make shifts of any length far easier, allowing you to keep driving your PCO hire car more safely. Here are five key tips to keep comfortable in your PCO car.
1. Adjust your seat properly
The root of driving ergonomically is your driver’s seat, but all too many people neglect to make the appropriate modifications that will make their journeys safer. There are four main parts of your seat which can be adjusted to make ergonomic driving easier, as well as two additional parts of the seat which are able to be altered in some vehicles.
- The height of your seat – you need to be sure that the seat is low enough for you to reach the pedals easily, with your knees at the same height as your hips.
- Moving your seat forwards or backwards – similarly, your seat needs to be close enough for your feet to comfortably press the pedals.
- The angle of your backrest – this should be angled relatively upright, in order to maintain full visibility.
- Your headrest – this should be high enough for the back of your head to rest comfortably in the centre when you lean back.
2. Maintain good driving posture
As Volvo’s president of interior design noted to The Sunday Times Driving magazine, good driving posture requires “the correct distribution of weight and support for the body”. The level of comfort you feel in the driving seat should be based on how far you need to extend your legs to press the pedals, so as long as you can push them as far down as you would need them to go with your back remaining against the seat, you will reduce your chances of back and foot pain.
Likewise, when it comes to the height of your seat, you should avoid having it so high that your head touches the top of the car. Similarly, setting the distance of the seat should be determined by your ability to grip the steering wheel at between the 9-and-3 and 10-and-2 positions, with a slight bend in your elbows. Your backrest should be adjusted so that your body is pressed against it, with your bottom comfortably in the corner.
3. Tidy your car
As with any other workplace, you should keep your surroundings clutter-free as possible to keep your mind clear and focussed on the task at hand. As such, tidying your car at the start or end of every day can prevent debris, dirt, and general mess from accumulating. A few personal affects here and there are obviously not going to be a problem, but if you let too much mess gather, it’s not only going to be distracting for you, but your passengers too, and could even impact those all-important ratings.
4. Take a break
We’ve already discussed Uber’s new policy to ensure that drivers take a break of at least six hours after completing ten-hour shifts, but of course, you should ideally be breaking up your shift — however long — into smaller chunks of time, where possible. In fact, the DVLA guidelines stipulate that every 5.5 hours on the road should be followed by a period of at least half an hour spent off the road, or at least 45 minutes during an 8.5 hour shift. These regulations are not only for comfort, but safety as well, and allows PCO drivers to get rest, something to eat, or enough time to stretch their legs.