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How To Adjust Your Car’s Mirrors; A New Way Could Be Safer And Eliminate The Blind Spot

Source: Jeffrey B via flickr

The last time you thought about how you adjust the mirrors on your automobile was when you were learning how to drive.  It seemed simple:  The rear-view mirror was positioned so that you could see the road behind your car and the side-mirrors were adjusted so that you could see the side of your car, along with the road alongside.  The only problem:  Those side-view mirrors left you with a blind spot.

A research study proposes that adjusting those mirrors in a different way could eliminate that blind spot.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) published a paper in 1995 suggesting how outside mirrors could be adjusted to eliminate blind spots. The paper advocates adjusting the mirrors so far outward that the viewing angle of the side mirrors just overlaps that of the cabin’s rearview mirror. This can be disorienting for drivers used to seeing the flanks of their own car in the side mirrors. But when correctly positioned, the mirrors negate a car’s blind spots. This obviates the need to glance over your shoulder to safely change lanes as well as the need for an expensive blind-spot warning system.

Sounds easy enough.  So what’s the problem?  Teaching an “old dog new tricks”.  In other words, we’ve become so accustomed to having our mirrors one way that it would take some time to get used to this new method.

The only problem is getting used to the SAE-recommended mirror positions. The cabin’s rearview mirror is used to keep an eye on what is coming up from behind, while the outside mirrors reflect the area outside the view of the inside rearview mirror.

Those who have switched to the SAE’s approach swear by it, however, some drivers can’t adjust to not using the outside mirrors to see directly behind the car and miss being able to see their own car in the side mirrors. To them we say, “Have fun filling out those accident reports.”

So what’s the best way to adjust your vehicles mirrors?  Experts say that the best way is to adjust them the way that you’ll use them!


How To: Adjust Your Mirrors to Avoid Blind Spots – Feature – Car and Driver.

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