Automotive designers consider many things when they draw up the cars that we drive today. Unfortunately, their designs are primarily a one-size-fits-all solution because they have to provide safety and comfort to the average person. But what about drivers who are shorter than average? They face obstacles when performing the same tasks that most other drivers take for granted.
In this article, we will look at the unique challenges faced by people who are of below-average height. Then, we’ll look at some of the features that are of higher priority to a short driver than they would be to a taller person.
To demonstrate everything discussed, we'll then look at some of the best and worst cars for short people available on the market today.
Let’s get started.
Is Driving Difficult for Short People?
As long as a driver has a clear line of sight in all directions and can use the pedals and controls, driving will be as straightforward as it is for any other driver, regardless of height.
However, some circumstances make driving more complicated than it has to be for people of below-average height. For example, vehicles that are much higher off the ground will make it difficult for the driver to enter and exit the car.
Plus, a lack of the correct seat and seat belt adjustment options could also make driving very uncomfortable for a shorter person.
With all that in mind, it seems that the challenge for shorter drivers is ensuring that the vehicle they drive is adjustable enough for them to drive comfortably and safely. Otherwise, they'll have to modify the car so that it's safe and convenient for them to drive on the road.
Is There a Minimum Height to Drive?
No, there isn’t a minimum height to drive. When you look at the requirements to apply for a driver’s license worldwide, most countries do not list a specific height as part of the requirements.
Instead, most of the requirements boil down to clear vision and the ability to see all around the vehicle and safely operate the vehicle's controls.
What Should You Look for in a Car If You're a Short Person?
As mentioned earlier, shorter drivers will value specific car features more than others. The best cars for short drivers should at least have some of the following features:
Powered and Adjustable Seats
Adjustable seats are probably one of the most important car features to look for if you're a shorter person. In particular, you'll want to look for seats with several control options that go beyond the basic adjustments to the seat’s angle of lean. Aside from this, the seat height and the angle relative to the steering wheel should be adjustable.
The best cars for short drivers won't just have adjustable seats but ones that are powered. It will save you from manually adjusting seats, which can sometimes be frustrating.
Adjustable Steering Wheels
Adjustable seats go hand-in-hand with adjustable steering wheels. Again, shorter drivers must ensure that they can see the road ahead and operate the vehicle's controls (such as the steering wheel) without any problems.
So, a car with a telescoping and tilting steering wheel is exactly what you’ll want to look for. Simply put, the best car for short drivers allows for seat and steering customisation to ensure the most comfortable fit to the driver.
Clear All-Round Visibility
The best vehicle for short drivers has the best visibility and fewest blindspots. Some A-pillars are too thick that they obstruct the view of the driver. Not all cars are created equal, and this is true about a car’s visibility from the inside, especially from the driver’s seat. So keep that in mind when comparing cars to buy.
There’s nothing much to say about this feature. The best cars for short drivers are easy to enter and exit, and those are the ones where the doors are lower to the ground.
At the very least, they’ll have steps that a shorter person can use to move safely in and out of the vehicle.
Additional Controls on the Steering Wheel
The worst cars for short people are those where the controls are spread out all over the place. In contrast, the best cars would centralise as many controls as possible to the steering wheel. They should be within an arm’s reach.
Audio control buttons, phone call buttons, and paddle shifters in some cases should be accessible on the steering wheel. If they don’t come standard for the car, you could always purchase aftermarket parts and retrofit them into the vehicle.
The Best and Worst Cars for Short People
First, it's important to remember that any car can be modified to suit the needs of a short driver. Those aftermarket parts are typically categorised as 'adaptive devices', and there are companies out there that specialise in making those modifications.
Still, let’s look at some of the best and worst production cars for short drivers. These vehicles have stock designs and features that either help or hinder short drivers.
What Are Some of the Best Cars For Short Drivers?
Right now, some of the best cars for short drivers include:
What Are Some of the Worst Cars for Short People?
If you’re a short driver looking for a car with the helpful features explored earlier, you might want to avoid:
Learn more about different car brands and models to help you decide which ones are the best or worst cars for you! Head over to the blog at Carpart.com.au and check out our articles that detail many of the vehicles available in Australia and elsewhere worldwide!
By Ray Hasbollah