Last updated on Sep 13th, 2020 at 11:42 am

Safety is always a cause for concern on South African roads.

And whilst car safety features continue to improve exponentially, the position the driver takes inside the car is still of utmost importance, especially for women.

Not many people are aware but the first female crash test dummy was only developed in 2012. Which means pre-2012, cars were tested with a crash test dummy of male size proportions.

“Today, modern cars detect the driver’s height and weight, and position the protection system to suite these individual dimensions” says AutoTrader’s CEO George Mienie. “So it’s no longer a case of male or female, but rather how heavy or how tall you are,” he comments.

“However, the South African auto market mostly consists of second-hand vehicles so this makes it important for women to adjust their driving position, to make sure they drive positioned in the safest part of the cabin,” comments Mienie.

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Read more: Cars of the future: what we might be driving soon

To maximize the effectiveness of a car’s built-in safety features, AutoTrader and Jaguar Land Rover’s driver trainers share five helpful tips to ensure a safer journey:

According to Devon Scott, Jaguar Land Rover’s Lead Instructor, in order to make sure you are positioned correctly in the driver’s seat you should adhere to these tips:

1. When sitting upright in the driver seat, make sure there is at least one hand length of space between your head and the top of the roof. Use your seat adjuster to correct the height of your chair.

2. When sitting behind the steering wheel, your legs musn’t be fully extended. Move your seat forward or backwards with the seat adjuster until your legs are slightly bent.

Read more: Drinking and driving: Are you really safe under the legal limit?

3. Steering wheels are (mostly) adjustable for reach. When sitting upright, extend one arm forward and adjust the steering wheel until your wrist is touching. You should not be closer than 27cm to an airbag.

4. The seat headrest is not designed to rest your head on, but to help with whiplash when involved in an accident. Therefore, always make sure the top of the headrest is above your ears.

5. Seat belts are adjustable. It should never be across your neck, but only ever across your chest.