How To Adjust Car Mirrors To Avoid Blind Spots

Rear view mirrors are an indispensable accessory when driving any motor vehicle and despite their use in all cars, there is no standard way of adjusting them. Most drivers adjust the rearview mirror to encompass the rear window of the car and this is generally an acceptable way of doing so. Some drivers though will bias the side-to-side angle of the rearview mirror so that a very small portion of the rear windshield trim is visible. In the case of left-hand drive cars, this would mean that the Rearview Mirror would be angled slightly to the right. The majority or drivers will adjust their side-view mirrors with what we will call the narrow-angle view. This means that a fourth of the usable area of the mirror will show the side of the car being driven. This is done for the left and right side-view mirrors.

The blue car’s driver sees the green car through his mirrors but cannot see the red car without turning to check his blind spot.
Wrong                                  Right

You can eliminate the blind spot by correctly following a few simple steps.

1. Adjust your rear view mirror so you can clearly see out the back of the car. Make sure the mirror is centered.

2  Place your left ear against the driver’ side window. Adjust the mirror to the point where you can see the left side of your car.

3  Lean your head to the right until it is over the center console. Move the mirror until the right side of your car comes into view.

4   Test to see if the mirrors are now properly aligned. Begin to drive and allow a car to pass you on the left. Watch the car until it appears in both your rear view and driver’ side mirrors. The car should be visible for a short time (around a second) in both mirrors. Look at your passenger-side mirror until the car disappears as it passes to your left. At this point the car should be visible out the left corner of your eye.

What all these adjustment advice don’t teach is that the driver must have, or develop, the situational awareness necessary to be a safe driver. You have to check your mirrors regularly and most specially when you are making a turn or lane change so that you are aware of objects and vehicles not only in front but also behind you. No amount of adjustment or gadgetry can compensate for dumb driving habits.

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