ELIMINATE BLIND SPOTS:
By Changing the Way You Set Your Side-View Mirrors
Learning to set your vehicle’s side-view mirrors so you no longer have dangerous blind spots is one of the most important adjustments you can make to improve your driving safety. Once your mirrors are set correctly, it will be much easier to safely change lanes and merge into traffic, because any vehicle coming up behind or beside you will be visible in at least one of your mirrors at all times.
The rearview mirror is easy to adjust: Its purpose is to show what’s directly behind you. But many people make a crucial error when they set their side-view mirrors – creating dangerous blind spots on both sides of their vehicle.
Some of us were taught to adjust our side mirrors by sitting behind the steering wheel and turning the mirrors so we can see the sides of our vehicle. But this actually creates tunnel vision to the rear of the car, and overlaps much of what your rearview mirror already shows you. It also creates blind spots on the left and right sides of your vehicle, momentarily preventing you from seeing a vehicle that’s attempting to pass.
THE CORRECT WAY
To eliminate blind spots, adjust your side mirrors as follows:
1. Sitting in the driver’s seat, lean over to the left until your head touches the driver’s side window. Adjust the left side mirror outward until you can just barely see the very edge of your car – with your head still touching the glass of the driver’s side window.
2. Now, lean the same distance to your right, until your head is in the middle of the car. Adjust the right mirror outward until you can see just the very edge of the car – with your head still in the middle of the car.
3. Sitting in your normal driving position, all three mirrors should work in harmony with each other. Your rearview mirror should show what’s behind you. The left mirror should show you what’s coming up on your left, and the right mirror should show you what’s coming up on your right. Before upcoming traffic leaves your rearview mirror entirely, it should be visible in one of your side mirrors – with no blind spot, no delays.
After you make the initial adjustments, you might still need to tweak them slightly. And driving (and backing up) with your mirrors set this way may take getting used to. Learn to rely on your rearview mirror first, and get used to what your side-view mirrors are reflecting. Once you get used to it, you should find it much easier and safer to change lanes, pass other vehicles and merge into fast moving traffic. By taking the time to adjust your mirrors correctly, you’ll be able to drive more confidently – because you will have eliminated dangerous blind spots.