“Driving comfort” used to be an oxymoron. Anyone remember bench seats? Droning engines and hissing vent windows? The aching accelerator leg before the salvation of cruise control?
Twentieth-century driving comfort was a close relative of twentieth century space capsule comfort. And only a little safer.
Well into the automobile’s second century, manufacturers have made cars vastly more comfortable, even for long-distance travel. Seats—at least the front seats—are now sculpted to cradle the human back and buns much more respectfully. Cabins are vastly quieter. There are any number of useful comfort accessories, from simple retracting cupholders to multi-zoned climate control systems.
But still, a four- or eight-hour drive challenges us to devise ways to keep the aches and restlessness at bay. Unless the scenery or companionship is unusually compelling, it can still be a fatiguing experience.
A stockpile of interesting snack food and drink is one comfort strategy. Forget the burger and fries to go; a carb bomb like that leaves you feeling leaden and sluggish and the cabin reeking for the next 100 miles. Instead: Italian sodas, fresh or dried fruit, homemade granola bars.
Audio entertainment is so valuable that it’s worth planning ahead. Audiobooks, podcasts, and a strategic selection of music are vastly better than relying on the radio.
And there is a variety of comfort products that can help our bodies make the best of a long trip.
Back support pillows are a wonderful and inexpensive accessory. As much as you might like a Recaro Ergomed seat custom-fitted in your Malibu, the four-figure price tag might be a deal-breaker. Bucky’s Baxter Back Pillow with buckwheat fill provides a lot of adjustability and custom lumbar support without the back-breaking price.
For passengers, a neck pillow and sleeping eye mask can help pass the miles in a relaxing nap. Or pack the small Duo Buckwheat/Millet bed pillow, which will mold itself around the ache-inducing angles of a car cabin and comfort your body.
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