CARS.COM — Finding a car that physically fits you is important but that means different things for different people. For drivers who are taller or shorter than average, certain comfort and convenience features can mean the difference between a comfortable, safe drive or stretching or slumping to fit. Look for these features for when shopping for a car.
Having the right amount of space between you and the steering wheel is important for comfort and safety. According to experts, there should be at least 10 inches between the driver’s chest and the steering wheel for the airbag to deploy. A telescoping steering wheel can help shorter drivers maintain that clearance even when the seat is moved forward to reach the pedals, and it can also help taller drivers achieve a comfortable driving position.
Height-Adjustable Driver’s Seat
A height-adjustable driver’s seat will help shorter drivers sit higher for better visibility. On the flip side, taller drivers will want to make sure the seat is set to the lowest point for maximum headroom. The seat height also affects where your seatbelt hits, important for proper restraint in a crash: The shoulder belt should be flat across the chest between the neck and shoulder, and the seat belt should be snug across your hips.
The amount of legroom a car offers affects more than just occupant comfort. It can affect your reaction time when hitting the brakes as well as the seriousness of an injury in a crash. For shorter drivers who may have trouble reaching the steering wheel and pedals, easily adjustable seats are important but power adjustable pedals make it easier to fine tune reach and comfort.