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Set your car mirrors this way and you WILL drive safer


If this isn't taught in all driving schools, it should be.

For a few years now I have been driving with my car mirrors positioned to the exact way I will describe to you below, and yes, it has saved my butt more than a few times. How? I can spot drivers behind me much more easily, particularly in the rear corner areas. These areas are known as blind spots.

First I will describe how everybody sets up their side mirrors wrong, then tell you how to do it right.

The WRONG way

You sit in the driver's seat and adjust each side mirror inward to the point where you just start to see your own car.

This is what you're doing when you do that:


When you set your side mirrors from the normal seated driving position, this results in making your existing blind spots even worse.

The RIGHT way


This is what you want. Instead of angling the side mirrors towards your car, you angle them more outward to see more of what's behind and to the side of you.

How to angle your side mirrors the RIGHT way

All it takes to do this is to set your side mirrors the same way you did before, with one exception. Change the position of your head while doing it.

Driver's side mirror: Move your head to the left until it touches the driver's side window. While your head is there, adjust the mirror until your car is almost out of view so it looks like this while your head is leaned against the window glass:


Passenger side mirror: Position your head in the middle of your car. The easiest way to do this is to lean to the right until your head is lined up with the center of your windshield rear view mirror. Keep your head there, then look directly at the passenger side mirror and adjust it until your car is almost out of view while your head is positioned in the center of the car, so you see something similar to this:


Will it feel weird to drive with your mirrors this way?

At first, yes.

You've most likely been angling your side mirrors incorrectly all your driving life, so you're completely used to the wrong way of doing it. It will take a few days before you get accustomed to correctly angled side mirrors.

However, believe me when I say that you will very much appreciate having your blind spots diminished dramatically. Angling them as I've described increases your panoramic view and decreases your blind spots quite a bit.

Does this totally eliminate blind spots?

No, but you want to give yourself every advantage you can when it comes to seeing not only what is behind you but also behind and to the sides.

You might be asking, "Why should I bother angling mirrors like you say when I can just get stick-on blind spot mirrors?" Answer: Most cars with properly angled side mirrors don't need those, with emphasis on most. There are still some vehicles where the blind spot mirrors are absolutely required (like a cargo van.)

Does this help with backing out of a parking spot?

No. The two biggest advantages to properly angled mirrors you will immediately notice are better visibility when making lane changes and better visibility when stopped at a multi-lane intersection traffic light when other cars are approaching behind you.

Properly angled mirrors don't give you any safer advantage backing straight out of a parking spot. The only way to make that safer is to choose better parking spots with fewer obstructions. In a mall parking lot, for example, better to choose a spot at the far end of the lot where there are fewer cars and walk it instead of taking the closer spot where both more cars and people are.

You will start to notice how many people have their side mirrors angled incorrectly

This is actually an added safety bonus because it gives you warning in advance.

You're traveling on a multi-lane road, such as a highway, and approach a slower driver. You check your mirrors, see no cars, okay, it's safe to change lanes. You signal, change lanes and go to pass. If from a quick glance in that slower driver's side mirror you cannot see that driver's face at all, it's very likely they can't see you. Right there and then, you're absolutely in a danger zone until you get side-by-side with that other car so that other driver can actually see you.

When you learn to recognize these danger zones (and you will,) it will save your butt many times over anywhere there is a multi-lane road. There's always that idiot who does that "Oh! I have to turn RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW!" maneuver, and then proceeds to quickly turn into the lane where you are with no warning. Spotting improperly angled side mirrors on other cars lets you know immediately of a danger zone and to keep your distance.

Angling your side mirrors correctly will make you a better driver.

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