Properly Adjusting Side and Rear View Mirrors

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For anyone who’s been driving for years, adjusting mirrors may seem like common sense. Maybe so, but there actually are proper or more effective ways to position your rear and side view mirrors. A lot of people are merely using their mirrors the “way they have always done it”, and don’t give it much thought. They adjust their heads and bodies to work with the mirrors when driving. This is how they eliminate blind spots and navigate through traffic. But while driving, that’s a good time to work smarter, not harder.

There are several car makers that have recognized the need for innovation in rear and side view mirror technology. Finding ways to help reduce traffic accidents and make the roads safer is always a car manufacturers’ priority. Which is why some have implemented technology to help today’s drivers avoid blind spots. These particular vehicles have been equipped with complex radars or cameras to scan for cars that may have left the driver’s view. By 2014, car makers will be required to equip their vehicles with rearview camera to help reduce accidents and injuries, and also are developing new mirror technology allowing for wider fields of view and other such innovations.

Getting the utmost from the rearview and side view mirrors means understanding the purpose of each. Many people will adjust their side view mirrors to get partial vantage points that only the rearview mirror should be getting. The rearview mirror is for the vehicles and objects that are directly behind you. The side view mirrors should be positioned to eliminate all blinds spots. Drivers often assume the way to get rid of a blind spot is to turn your head around or glance over your shoulder. This is not necessary, and can also be dangerous. The key to eliminating blind spots is to position side view mirrors outward, until your own bumper is barely visible.

Car and Driver Magazine wrote about the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) who reported on the proper way to eliminate blind spots. They also agreed that adjusting the mirrors so far outward that the viewing angle barely overlaps that of the rearview mirror. This allows you to use all three mirrors to track other cars’ as they travel from behind you (rear mirror); to blind spot (side mirror); to beside you (through side window). This is the agreed upon safest and most cost-effective way to adjust your mirrors for safe driving.

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