Not everyone is endowed with the height that they want. In fact, many don’t even reach a full adult height of five feet. Although being short brings some great advantages, those who top out at 4’9” or 4’10” have a few disadvantages as well. One of the main disadvantages is that of driving. Most cars that come off the assembly line nowadays have many different adjustments to customize the fit of the vehicle to the driver. However, there are limitations on those adjustments, as they only raise and move the seat forward so much. So what happens if those adjustments aren’t enough to allow you to see over the dashboard?
Surprisingly, there is no minimum height size required to drive a car in most U.S. states.
In order to obtain a valid driver’s license, however, you must be able to demonstrate that you can safely and properly operate a vehicle. This includes being able to reach all controls in the vehicle, including pedals, as well as being able to properly view the road and rear-view mirrors at the same time. These abilities will be tested during the driving portion of the driver’s license testing.
If you struggle to do any of the things mentioned above, don’t worry just yet! There are modifications you can make to your vehicle or accessories you can use that will allow you to safely operate a vehicle. Studies have shown that a person driving with any of the approved modifications or accessories is not more likely to cause an accident, so there are no safety concerns to worry about. With a few purchases and some practice, you could properly operate a vehicle and obtain a driver’s license of your own!
Accessories for shorter drivers
If you, indeed, are someone who struggles to drive a car safely, then consider purchasing some car accessories made specifically for shorter drivers. The list below covers all of the major accessories needed to make your driving experience safe and comfortable.
Arguably one of the most important accessories for a shorter driver is a pedal extender. Pedal extenders are exactly what they sound like: they attach to the gas and brake pedals in your car to allow a shorter driver to reach. When looking for pedal extenders, it is important to look for something that has a universal fit to most cars. The extenders linked above are universal and also require no drilling or difficult maneuvering for installation. The right pair of pedal extenders will be adjustable to allow for complete customization to your height and comfort level.
One of the easiest accessories to add to your car is a seat cushion. A seat cushion can give the driver a few more inches of height in addition to the seat adjustments that come with the car. A few more inches makes all the difference when it comes to seeing the road clearly. The cushion linked above is washable, soft, and comfortable. Users generally give it good ratings, and explain that this cushion is comfortable to sit on for long periods of time, and allows them to see the road better while driving.
Another advantage of using a seat cushion is that it allows you to see the side mirrors more clearly as well. Being able to use the side mirrors is an essential part of driving, and is assessed during the driving portion of your driver’s test. If you are a shorter driver that struggles to see out of the windshield, chances are you will struggle to use your mirrors correctly as well. Purchasing a seat cushion that raises you up a few inches solves two problems at once.
Similar to the seat cushion, a booster seat allows the driver to have a few extra inches of visibility. The booster seat linked above gives the driver a full three inches of extra height. This booster is soft and sturdy, yet comfortable enough for a whole day of driving. It is wide and long as well, so it fills out the seat of your car nicely.
Driving early in the morning or late in the evening poses another problem for the shorter driver. The sun is low in the sky during these times of day, and the standard sun visor in the car is typically too short to block the sun. A sun visor extender can help solve this problem. A sun visor extender attaches to the existing sun visor in your car and has sliding or moving panels that extend out from the original. One panel slides to the left or right to extend sun blockage, while one panel slides down to protect even further. The left and right panels will most likely be of no use to a shorter driver, however the bottom extending panel will be helpful when the sun is low in the sky. This panel will help to prevent glare and direct sunlight from being in the driver’s eyes, allowing him or her to drive safely.
Yet another issue facing shorter drivers is the placement of the safety belt. Seat belts are designed to be adjustable, but only horizontally. The lap belt typically adjusts for those needing more space around the waist, but the vertical part of the belt has no adjustable option. For someone that is shorter, this poses a problem. Because of the height difference, the vertical part of the seat belt does not lay nicely over the shoulder, but cuts more into the face and neck.
To solve this problem, there are seat belt adjusters that you can purchase to be added to your seat belt. These seat belt adjusters, like the ones linked above, simply snap around the existing seat belt in your car to move the vertical portion of the belt over a few inches. This is enough to move the belt away from your face and neck, making it safer and more comfortable to use. Adjusters are easy to add and remove to your car, making them an accessory you can carry with you.
The headrest, while slightly adjustable, is another feature of a car that is not designed for shorter people. While sitting in the driver’s seat, the head of a shorter person will most likely hit at an uncomfortable place on the headrest. While this problem does not seem essential to fix, it poses a safety issue. If your head does not fit up to the headrest, it could uncomfortably tilt your head forward and impair your driving abilities. Adding a head and neck support attachment, like the one linked above, will help to remedy this situation. It sits lower on the seat, allowing the head of a shorter person to have a flat, comfortable place to rest.
Hope for shorter drivers
While there is no minimum height size required by law to drive a car, cars are not made for shorter drivers. There are more issues facing shorter drivers than just reaching the pedals or seeing over the steering wheel. With a combination of these safety and comfort adjustments, a shorter driver is able to successfully obtain a driver’s license and drive safely on the road.