Since most vehicles are manufactured for average-height persons, short people may overthink it before starting their driving journey. So, the question remains- how tall do you have to be to drive?
The fact is, there’s no law mentioning any specific height requirement to drive. As long as you fulfill the age requirement, health requirements, have a clean driving record, and have a commercial driving license, there’s nothing to worry about anything else.
But yes, short people face issues like reduced visibility in vehicles, difficulties while exerting or exiting the vehicle, and difficulties to find a comfortable seating position. However, there are clear-cut solutions to each problem.
So, you have nothing to feel low if you have a few inches less than other drivers. Let’s grab a cup of coffee and know how to get the best driving experience!
What Issues Do Short People Face While Driving?- With Solutions!
The thing is, car manufacturers usually consider a particular height range when manufacturing their vehicles. And that height range usually starts at 4 feet 9 inches and ends at 6 feet 3 inches.
For this, people under this height range might find a few things more difficult than other drivers. Below are the issues mentioned.
Issue 1: It May be Hard to Find a Comfortable Seating Position
It will be quite challenging for you to find a seat position where you can easily reach the pedals and have a clear view as well. Most of the time, when you reach the pedals, you may find it hard to see over the wheels.
Solution: Use a Seat Cushion and Get Pedal Extenders
Your must-take steps to find a comfortable seating position should be:
- Adjusting the driving position
- Adjusting the steering wheel
- Adjusting the backrest (headrest)
Try to adjust them according to your height and if you feel any need of getting additional accessories, consider getting a seat cushion and pedal extenders.
A proper seat cushion can add a few more inches of height to the seat. Now, a few more inches can make a major difference in terms of your driving capability if you are short.
Additionally, you will be capable of seeing the side mirrors properly, which is an essential part of driving. Also, with the pedal extenders in place, it will be possible for you to see over the steering wheel easily too.
Pro tip: When you are looking for a seat cushion, make sure to get a washable one. You should also ensure that the cushion is comfortable to set on. If not, you will need to deal with back problems.
Now, coming to the point of pedal extenders. These accessories extend the pedals that include both the gas and brake pedals of your car. Pedal extenders adjust the length of your legs with foot pedals and help you find comfort.
Issue 2: Risks Included When Getting In and Out
If you heard about no-crash injuries, you may imagine easily how risks are included with just getting in and out of a car. This issue is not related to short people, of course, anyone can slip off a step on a vehicle and experience a fractured or broken ankle.
However, the risk is quite higher for short people because of their less leverage for entering or exiting a car.
Solution: Be aware of The Right Way to Get In and Out of A Vehicle
It’s a must to be extra cautious about any possible slip-offs while getting in or out of your car. Try to use a minimum of 3 points of contact.
If we break it down, keep your hands in two positions while climbing up. Make sure you keep your three limbs connected to your car so it’s easy for you to balance your body if you slip.
Issue 3: Reduced Visibility
While driving, you need to judge distance. And, with limited height, it can be hard to see the nose of your car. The problem is more noticeable when you pull up behind someone or park your car.
It’s easy to understand that you can’t see your car’s front and may mess up at judging the distance. The wrong guessing might lead you to hit something you are not supposed to hit when parking the car.
Solution: Position Your Body for Optimum Visibility
To assure optimum visibility, you’ll get options like height-adjustable seats and adjustable steering wheels. These accessories will let you see the outsides easily and save you from accidents.
Issue 4: Risks of Getting Hurt From Headrests and Airbags of The Car
What headrests do is prevent whiplash in any accident. But unfortunately, short people find it hard to tilt their heads at an awkward angle. For this, there’s a high chance of neck injuries if the headrests aren’t positioned right.
Another issue is with the distance between your head and the air bad. Tall drivers can sit back easily so the airbag is in a distant place during any accident. Since the airbag is made of a hard material and not a cushioned material, short drivers can suffer airbag injuries more often than tall ones.
It’s important to maintain at least 10 inches of distance from your head to the airbag whereas short people are in the distance of around 3-4 inches. So, now you may relate to the risks.
Solution: Go for Vehicles with Adjustable Headrests and On-Off Switching Airbags
It’s best to switch to a vehicle that comes with adjustable headrests. However, if it’s not possible for some reason, you can cover the headrest with a towel so you get better support for safety purposes.
And, there are options to choose an on-off switch that will reduce the risks of airbag injuries. But by having an on-off switch in your vehicle you need to get authorization from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because you can’t legally install the switch without authorization.
The process of getting the authorization isn’t hard though. All you need to do is to fill out a form from the authority and send a request explaining your issues and desires.
Issue 5: Discomfort With The Seat Belt and Shoulder Strap
Another issue that short drivers face while driving is the shoulder strap doesn’t cross their shoulders and the seat belt doesn’t fit snugly across their pelvis. There are serious injury risks including this.
Solution: Get a Seat Belt Adjuster and A Shoulder Strap Pad
This investment will not go in vain. Getting a seat belt adjuster will prevent a rub of your neck in uncomfortable ways. And, a shoulder strap pad prevents your seat belt from cutting into your neck.
While purchasing a seat belt adjuster, make sure you don’t choose cheap plastic materials. Instead, go for gentle materials that are used for children’s safety, they will work great for short adult people.
Issue 6: Sun Visors Might Not Work for Short Drivers
Last but not least, short people carry high risks with sun visors. You may already know how dangerous the time of dusk or dawn can be for driving a car or any other vehicle. Your car’s sun visor blocks the glaring sun and helps you prevent chances of any eyesight issues that can result in unpleasant accidents.
Tall people can easily use a sun visor and keep their eyes shaded by the visor while short people find it hard to get enough benefit from that.
Solution: Wear a Hat With The Sun Visor
This can be the best advice for short people; wearing a hat with a visor. It will help you adjust the visor and keep you safe from the sunlight no matter whether your sun visor helps you or not.
In case, it’s not practical always to wear a hat, simply drive when the sun doesn’t be in your direct slight line. If we are more specific, don’t drive on roads that go to the west when the sun is setting. This will make the risks close to zero and help you save from accidents.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there a legal minimum height requirements to drive?
Ans: No! There is no minimum height requirement for driving vehicles. You just need to have a proper license.
2. What is a good height to drive?
Ans: Car manufacturers consider the height range of 4 feet 9 inches to 6 feet 3 inches. You can consider this range as the ideal height range for driving.
3. What height is too short for driving?
Ans: No height is too short for driving. But if you are under 4 feet 9 inches, you might not be capable of driving the vehicle properly.
Well, no laws require drivers to be at a certain height. However, it can indeed be difficult for short drivers to drive the vehicle properly. But, as you know, you can tackle most of those issues by getting a few accessories.