Solutions for Short Drivers: What Are Good Driving Tips for a Short Person?
Some of us are challenged vertically, and that can present itself in different places throughout our lives. We have to combat that with unique solutions to everything, including driving.
The average height of a man in the United States is around 5' 8". It's 4 inches shorter, or 5' 4", for a woman. Most of the world is built around this average, and we shorties are left to fend for ourselves.
Driving impaired by our height can be a detriment to our safety and others on the road. Finding solutions for short drivers is vital for getting to point-A to point-B for those living under the average.
Read on to learn about these tips for DWS - driving while short.
Modifications to the Pedals
The biggest problem we face when driving is our reach. Often times, short people cannot properly reach the pedals. When in a panic or at a time of need, that extra distance we have to reach can be dire.
Fortunately, there are modifications that extend pedals. This can be done with two different sources.
You can take your vehicle to a mod-shop or a dealer and have them professionally installed. This is the best bet, as there are a lot of factors to properly modifying a car. This will also act as a more permanent solution.
There are also commercially sold extenders that you can install yourself. These will be cheaper but not as effective. If not put into position correctly, they can also be a danger of slipping due to mal-use.
Some shorter people also have the option to forego the use of pedals altogether. This can be done by modifying the acceleration and brake junctions into a receptor that's available on the wheels or a shift of some sort. These call for the most modification and they require learning how to drive the vehicle, presenting new dangers.
All in all, if you're going to get pedal extenders, get them professionally installed.
Solutions for Short Drivers: Mirror Placement
Something that you might not consider is the placement of mirrors.
Finding the proper angle of reflection and refraction for the mirrors is especially important in a short driver's case. Most of the time, the rear-view mirror is angled to accommodate taller vehicle operators.
These can be brought down to a proper level with an extension, similar to pedal extenders. But don't put them too low, as they can obscure necessary vision fields in the windshield.
Blindspots are also a danger for those that can't see well over their car's door. A lot of vision is impeded by the window jam and other structures, preventing people with height conditions from seeing well.
There are installments that can be glued to mirrors that circumvent this problem. They act as a fish-view mirror and capture the most light. Use these on both mirrors for the full field of vision necessary to drive.
Using a Pillow for Prop
Most of all, it's important to use a pillow to prop yourself up. Seeing over the dashboard is crucial to safely operate a vehicle.
Get something with enough cushion to lift you from your regular seating position. Don't opt for something that's too cushy, however. These types of pillows often allow for too much sinkage and will lower you too far down over time.
Find something that's firmer to keep its rigidity. This will also hold up over the tests of time. Finding the right pillow in this situation is just as important as finding the one for your sleep. It's going to go everywhere with you.
It's also important to adjust your seat as far forward and upward as possible. This will give you the necessary leverage to aid in lifting you up. Set it to the maximum height to allow for proper viewing angles.
Some dealerships and mechanic shops offer modifications to chairs, as well. These might be your best bet instead of relying on a flimsy pillow that you'll have to wash frequently.
They offer the ability to make the chair higher for shorter drivers. The only downside is the cost: it can get pretty pricey to get any sort of mod done to your car.
Ask for Assistance
When all else fails, it might be time to get some aid for your driving.
It's not safe to drive if you cannot see perfectly well over the dash or in your blindspots. Sometimes, you'll need aid to drive you.
This can come in the form of hired help, a friend, or family. Don't be ashamed to ask for help, everyone needs it - not just the height impaired.
What's most important is safely getting around town. Your friends or whoever will fully understand and support your decision in this.
It might feel like you're being stripped of some sort of freedom if you rely on someone else's help, but that's true. We all need to learn and understand our own limitations. Ours just happens to be our height.
In the future, we can also look forward to automated driving cars. This will allow us to get around town without the need for anybody's help or modifications to the car.
Let's Drive, Shorty!
Some people are height impaired, but that doesn't stop us from getting around town. These are some solutions for short drivers that you should consider before getting behind the wheel again.
You should get pedal extenders installed by a professional; these will greatly aid in reaching. Getting your mirrors readjusted to properly give you a good viewing angle is pertinent, as well. Lifting yourself up as high as possible with a pillow and seating adjustments is important to see over the dash.
If all else fails, ask for help from someone that's a little taller.
Are you height impaired and want to learn more about getting by in everyday life? Reach out to us to talk about it.
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