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Blind Spots: Adjusting Your Car's Mirrors Properly

Jun 9, 2015


Adjusting your side and rear view mirrors correctly is extremely important.   Just because you can see out of them into the lane next to you doesn’t mean they are set correctly.   Blind spots, these magical worm holes where cars just disappear and reappear out of nowhere have caused countless, yet completely avoidable accidents.  And we do men out of nowhere.  Cars can be completely invisible to you that are right along side or that are completely flanking you until your peripheral vision catches them, and thats when you end up accidentally cutting someone off, or worse, causing a very serious or fatal collision.   If you don't believe us have your friend walk or drive past your car while you watch it completely disappear.  So lets check out some of these wicked blind spots and talk more about those mirrors…  


In most cars your blind spots are going to be generally as shown in the diagram below, to the right or left of you as another vehicle is coming up the side.   They can drive in that area invisible and undetected for miles and miles if they stay in the right spot.  You may think you're driving on the road alone and then wham... blind sided.  


Essentially to make the proper adjustment, you need to think of your side mirrors and rear view mirror as one panoramic view.  When a car leaves out of view in the rear mirror, it should immediately appear in your side view mirrors without any disappearance from your sight.   Most people tend to adjust the mirrors so they can see the length of their car, but by doing this you create really bad blind spots that will allow cars to completely disappear off your mirrors and be in an extremely dangerous position to cause a collision if you were to switch lanes.   You don't need to see your car, you know what it looks like and where it is.  You need to see everyone else's and make sure they don't disappear.  Don’t be afraid to have a friend help you out by moving around, or even driving a car behind, around and past your vehicle while its parked to really make sure that the continuous flow from your back mirrors to your side mirrors is always covered.   It should be a continuous flow never allowing any vehicle to ever escape the sight of either mirror going from the rear, and right into the view of the sides. 



Some people only use their side view mirrors when merging but this is not safe.  The instance you check the side view mirror and then go to merge a vehicle can be moving out of sight in your rear view, making it extremely important to check both, rear first then your side view before turning.  While the mirrors are a very useful and effective aid (when set correctly), extremely cautious people will often also check their “blind spots” before changing lanes.  You should also be an extremely cautious driver and always glance at your "blind spots" whenever changing lanes.  Even though your mirrors may be set perfectly - you can still have a blind spot, especially if a car is moving into an adjacent lane from two lanes over, or if the car is farther to the left or right in a particular lane, escaping the line of vision set up by your mirrors.  So always look.  



Each time you get into your vehicle you should check your mirrors to make sure they haven’t shifted or have been altered since the last time you drove.   Cars or pedestrians may accidentally bump or hit them causing the point of view or mirror angles to change.


Another safety tip?  Avoid the blind spots of other vehicles by not traveling diagnol to another car.  Granted, you can't always help this on the road, but when there is less cars you can defintely accelerate or decelerate to get your vehicle in a better position to be seen by the other driver.    Drive safe!  

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