Correctly adjusting side mirrors is something that every driver should do, every time they drive.
Whether the car is your daily drive or you’re ferrying home a friend in their vehicle, taking a minute to properly align your mirrors is always worthwhile. Here's how to adjust your car mirrors correctly:
This idea was championed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in 1995, who published a paper stating how mirrors could be adjusted to eliminate blind spots.
Unfortunately, a huge number of cars on the road are not following these guidelines and are instead showing the sides of the car in the mirrors and therefore creating blind spots. This is evidenced by the number of new cars being released with ‘blind spot monitoring’, which some see as a band aid fix for drivers whose mirrors are incorrectly set.
The Society of Automotive Engineers suggests adjusting the side mirrors far enough outwards that the viewing angle just overlaps the vision offered by the in cabin rear view mirror.
The verdict is this; if you can see your car in your side mirrors, you’re putting your own life and the lives of those driving around you in danger. Imagine you make a quick merge into the left lane to avoid slowing traffic in your lane and before you know it you're in an accident!
You and the car that was hovering in your blind spot have come together in a bad way. While this may sound dramatic, it’s simply the truth, as when driving at 80km/h with your mirrors incorrectly adjust can be dangerous.
The illustration below by Chris Philpot shows how drivers can correctly adjust their mirrors to ensure near perfect vision around their vehicle at all times. It’s a simple process and will only take up a minute of your time and could save you from filling out an accident report.
While the different driving experience might take some getting used to, we can guarantee that once you’ve adjusted, you’ll be a safer driver for it.
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