Staying comfortable in the driver’s seat is an important, yet commonly overlooked concern when it comes to off-roading. You keep your off-road truck ready for top performance by adding important aftermarket parts like bigger, tougher tires and steel truck bumpers, yet what do you do to keep yourself comfortable on the trail?
You might not think that how you sit has anything to do with the enjoyment you get when off-roading or even how long you can drive without becoming fatigued - but it really does. If you want off-roading to be safer, less tiring, and more fun, learn how to use the correct driving position.
Seat and Seat Belt Position
Before you head off on the trails in your off-roader with its upgraded bumpers and winches, the first thing you want to do is make sure your seat is positioned correctly. Adjust the seat height so it gives you equal support for both your knees and hips when you have your heel on the floor and your foot on the gas. Your ankle should be at a 90-degree angle.
Move the seat forward or back as needed to maintain this position with your throttle foot while still being able to fully engage the clutch and apply the brakes. Proper seat height, along with the right steering wheel tilt, should allow you to see your gauges unobstructed.
Then make sure your seat belt is positioned so it crosses between your shoulder and collarbone, not higher up across your neck. When correctly positioned, you will experience less strain and fatigue on your legs and back when trail riding in your off-roader.
Steering Wheel Position
Once you have your seat position correctly adjusted, focus on how you hold the steering wheel. This is another detail that may not seem significant and yet can affect both your comfort and your steering effectiveness. While most drivers are accustomed to putting their hands at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock position for normal driving, you should use the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock position when off-roading.
Placing your hands in the above driving position reduces fatigue by keeping your shoulders in a more natural position. It also ensures your hands or arms are not in the path of the airbag should it inflate. This more effective steering position gives you better control of your truck and smoother steering capability to avoid ending up in a ditch and damaging your new steel truck bumpers.
Another important thing that a 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock steering wheel grip does is keep your thumbs out, preventing you from wrapping them around the wheel and steering with them. Broken thumbs are a common off-roading injury that can happen if you encounter an impact that affects your steering system and yanks your steering wheel out of your hands.
The last detail that affects your driving position is visual perspective while out on the trails. If you lean forward to look directly in front of your vehicle or lean to look out the window, you are restricting your view and affecting a proper driving stance.
Stay properly seated and look well ahead of your truck to choose your path, which will make your steering more effective and accurate. Scan your surroundings and get a better awareness of where your truck is on the road so you can properly steer yet stay in the most effective seating position.
Did you ever think there was so much involved with sitting correctly in your off-road truck? As different as off-road driving is to street driving, it is no wonder that seat position can affect how much strain your body faces during a day of trail riding.
Your truck can withstand all this strain since you most likely have upgraded to a tougher suspension and protective bumpers. If you adopt the simple techniques discussed above for safe, comfortable driving on the trail, you will reduce your own strain and fatigue so you stay strong all day long!