Archive for February 26th, 2019|Daily archive page

Car Mirrors: Are You Using Yours Correctly?

Your brand-new car came with high-tech gadgetry that warns you if you’re about to change lanes and hit a vehicle in your blind spot. So who needs car mirrors, right? Well … not so fast.

Making good use of your car’s more traditional elements—along with its advanced technology—is a smart move. The tips below will help you better use your car mirrors.

Why car mirrors are still important

There’s no doubt today’s car tech can make driving safer. In fact, research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that driver assistance technologies—like forward collision, lane departure and blind spot warnings—have the potential to prevent more than 2.7 million crashes and nearly 9,500 deaths each year.

But there’s a hidden danger: Becoming too reliant on such technology—or not knowing its limitations—can leave you vulnerable to a crash.

When AAA surveyed drivers, it found that 80 percent wrongly believed that their car’s blind spot warning system could reliably detect bicycles, pedestrians and fast-moving cars. And a quarter of drivers said they feel comfortable relying only on their car’s blind-spot warning system and not performing visual checks in their car mirrors or looking over their shoulders for traffic. Scary, right?

How to use your car mirrors

Rearview mirror


While sitting in the driver’s seat with the car in park, adjust the mirror so you can see the whole rear window—or as much of it as possible. You should only have to move your eyes, not your head, to check this mirror.

Pro tip: Remember that your car’s mirrors are only for glances to detect movement, not stares that can distract you from the road.

Side mirrors


If you’re like most drivers, you probably position these mirrors while looking straight ahead—as you would when you’re on the road. But you may not be getting as good a view as you think.

Here’s how to gain a visual advantage over your blind spots:

  • To adjust the driver’s sideview mirror, lean your head against the closed window and then position the mirror so you barely see the left side of the car.
  • For the passenger’s sideview mirror, lean your head to the right so it’s just below the rearview mirror and above the center console. Then, adjust the mirror so you barely see the right side of the car.

Pro tip: A small, stick-on convex mirror can also help you detect movement in your side mirrors more easily. (Find them at NAPA and save 10 percent.)

Even with all your car mirrors properly set and your blind spot warning system in place, there’s no substitution for a driver’s visual checks and close attention while on the road.

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