Properly setting car mirrors isn’t exactly the biggest topic they talk about in drivers ed classes. Yet, thousands of accidents are caused when drivers change lanes or merge into other vehicles due to improperly set side and rearview mirrors. Luckily, there’s a little-known trick to eliminating all blind spots in your car.
Before I get into the details on proper mirror adjustment, here’s a quick video which gives a great visual on how to do it:
Properly Setting The Drivers Side Mirror
For the driver’s side mirror, you’ll want to lean over towards the driver’s side window. Lean over as far as you can (with the window closed, of course!). At that point, move the mirror away from you right up to the point you can’t see the car in your mirror anymore.
Properly Setting The Passenger Side Mirror
Once your driver’s side is set, lean towards the center counsel in the car. Just lean on over to the right until your head is about centered between the driver’s seat and passenger seat. Now, move the passenger side mirror away from you until you can’t see any part of your car anymore.
Properly Setting The Rearview Mirror
This is pretty straightforward and there’s no secret trick here. Just sit in your normal driving position and adjust the rearview so you can see as much out the back window as possible.
Why The Weird Mirror Settings?
As you begin driving with this new mirror setting, you’ll notice something very cool.
Let’s say you’re in the right lane, and a car is passing you on the left (driver’s side). What you’ll notice is that the passing vehicle is visible in your rearview mirror and just as it’s exiting the field of vision for that mirror, the passing car will magically appear in your driver’s side mirror.
As soon as the vehicle leaves the vision field of your side mirror, that passing vehicle will be next to your driver’s side window and easily seen. No blind spots!!
Give it a try – It really works!! This same scenario will ring true if somebody is passing on your right.
Fine Tune And Adjust
You might need to make a couple of minor tweaks before you get it just perfect. If you use the “lean” method, your mirrors should only require very minor adjusting.
I like to use parked cars as a “base” after setting my mirrors. As I pass a parked car along the road, I watch my mirrors as I go by. If at any point I lose sight of the car, I know I need to fine-tune it a bit.
If you use this method correctly, you should have absolutely no blind spots at all!
It’s going to feel a little weird at first. After all, you’ve been driving with incorrect mirror settings for how many years?
This will take some getting used to. But if you try this with an open mind, and if you really pay attention, you’ll notice that you no longer have blind spots. It really is that easy!
Take Advantage of Technology
If you’re a bit impatient and you’re not interested enough to learn about these manual mirror settings, you can take advantage of technological devices.
For example, blind-spot monitoring systems are now commonly integrated into the latest car models. These electronic detection devices, mounted near your rear bumper and side mirrors send radar wavelengths to alert drivers when another car enters your blind spot.
Devices such as the Delphi Rear and Side Detection System or RSDS also allow more time for drivers to react to any obstacle. But it’s not just that. There have been recent updates to blind-spot monitoring systems as well. I know you’re already familiar with this – these devices can now actively help drivers avoid a potential collision. It’s not just a passive warning anymore.
But I get it. You’re worried about the price. Yes, features such as these can cost a lot, and usually, you’ll find them on luxury vehicles. But actually, the cost of this technology in the past few years has significantly gone down. You’ll find that it’s widely available across the market, even for your average car.
A word of caution though, blind-spot monitoring systems can definitely improve your overall safety when driving. It keeps your car away from potential damages as well, no matter how small they are. But in the wrong run, devices are still devices, and there will be times when they can malfunction. Complete reliance on them may end up working against you, so make sure you don’t forget to still remain as a reliable watchful driver. Eyes on the road, but keep shifty eyes to avoid target fixation!
Double Check Anyway
Now that you understand how to properly set your car mirrors to eliminate blind spots, you can have much more confidence that your mirrors are giving you a wide view you can rely on. However, you can’t be too safe when changing lanes. Very serious accidents can occur during lane changes because generally, lane changes occur at higher speeds. Contacting another vehicle at higher speeds could easily send your vehicle out of control. Therefore, we still recommend you manually glance and check your blind spots. The best way to do this is to move your head only as far as you need to for your peripheral vision to detect whether a vehicle is present or not. Do not keep your eyes off the road for more than a split second while doing this. It should be a very quick, fluid motion, and your peripheral vision should be able to see out the front windshield as well as out your back window.
Give Plenty Of Warning
Most drivers do not use turn signals properly. Most drivers will activate their turn signal at the same time they are making a lane change. However, you should activate your signal for a minimum of 3 seconds before you change lanes. Let other drivers know your intent. At the end of 3 seconds, check your blind spots again and slowly change lanes. Do not make quick lane changes or use jerky movements. If you change lanes slowly, you give any vehicles around you the opportunity to warn you by honking.
Well, I hope this helps and as always, drive safely! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to use the commenting area below.