The first May Bank Holiday is a great opportunity to get away, whether for day trips, the weekend or the start of a longer break. Unfortunately, many others have the same idea too! If you are facing a long or potentially delayed journey, keep our car travel tips in mind.

Make adjustments
– If you share a car, make sure the seat position is adjusted to suit you each time you get in.
– The back of the seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving.

Steering wheel
– Once you have adjusted your seat correctly, your hands should fall naturally on the steering wheel, with just a slight bend in the arms.
If the wheel is too high and far away, tension will build up in your shoulders and upper back. If it is too low and close to you, the wheel may be touching your legs, which will reduce your ability to turn it freely, putting strain on the wrists and the muscles of the upper back.

Mirrors
Your reactions must be quick, so you should not need to move your head a lot. The mirror positions should allow you to see all around the car with the movement of your eyes with minimal head movement.
– Set your mirror positions to suit you before you drive off.

Footwear
– Avoid wearing wear high heels, or very thick-soled shoes, as you will have to over-extend the ankle in order to put pressure on the pedals. As well as making it much harder to deal with an emergency stop, this position will raise your thigh from the seat (reducing support to your leg) and create tension (and possibly cramp) in the calf. This, in turn, will impair the blood flow on a long journey.

Relax
– A relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine, allowing your seat to take your weight.
– Take regular breaks – everyone needs to stop and stretch their legs (and arms!) at least every two hours, more often if possible.
– Clench your cheeks – If you are stuck in traffic, exercise in your seat. Try buttock clenches, side bends, seat braces (pushing your hands into the steering wheel and your back into the seat – tensing and relaxing) as well as shoulder shrugs and circles.
– Keep well hydrated.
– It’s all in the timing – Allow plenty of time for journeys to avoid stress.

Have a fabulous weekend!