Drivers should check and possibly adjust the mirrors every time he or she gets into the car. Unfortunately mirrors being out of position cause numerous accidents every year. The below steps will help drivers stay safe.
The rearview mirror should only be adjusted when the vehicle is stationary and the driver is seated in his normal position. The horizon line should be just below the top third of the mirror. Most rearview mirrors are distortion free to make determining the speed and location of approaching cars more reliable.
The side mirrors are convex to give a wider view of vision. This helps cut down on accidents by reducing a vehicle’s blind spot. Unfortunately, the shape makes items in the mirror appear smaller and further away, impeding judgment.
When adjusting the mirrors for the greatest visibility with little head movement, move the part of the mirror closest to the car until you only see a small strip of the side of the car. This gives a broader eye line and reduces the blind spot. Please note that it reduces the blind spot, but does not remove it.
The horizon line should be just under the top third of the mirror. This positioning is flexible, but the horizon line should never be below the half way mark in the mirror.
The most dangerous area for other cars to approach is the blind spot. Located over each shoulder, the areas are not seen in the external or internal mirrors. This is due to the car’s structure obscuring the view. To counter the affects of the blind spots, drivers must glance over the shoulder in the direction they are moving or turning toward. This is true for turning corners and changing lanes.
The law requires one side mirror and one rearview mirror, or two side mirrors and no rearview mirror. These combinations are designed to help the driver know what is happening all around the car at any given moment. This knowledge gives the driver plenty of time to react to unexpected circumstances as a defensive driver to maintain safety.
Mirrors are used often during a drive. The most common uses are as follows:
- Pulling Over – Check all mirrors before pulling to the side of the road or taking an off ramp.
- Changing Lanes – Check all mirrors and over the right or left shoulder blind spot before accelerating into the next lane.
- Overtaking – From time to time check the side mirrors to see if anyone is trying to pass or overtake you.
- Turning Left or Right – Check the nearside mirror and rearview mirror before turning left, and check the far side mirror and the rearview mirror when turning right.
- Slowing or Stopping – Check the rearview mirror to judge a following car to make sure its speed is reducing at the same or slower rate.
- Exiting Car – Checking all the mirrors before stepping out of the car is a helpful precaution to make sure no vehicle is passing or no person is coming along side of the car.
- Approaching Hazards – When approaching hazards its important to check all the mirrors to be alert in case something forces a quick speed reduction. Hazards might include: junctions, bends, pedestrian crossings, roadwork, and slow moving vehicles.
Mirrors are safety tools that must be maintained. If the mirror is cracked or broken, it can put the drivers safety at risk. Today would be a great day to double check the position of your mirrors.