Automobile Mirror Adjustments to Eliminate Blind Spots

Automobile mirror adjustment to eliminate blind spots

Americans love their automobiles, and nothing is more satisfying on a pleasant day than to take a leisurely drive in the country. Driving is also a serious hazard, one many of us face daily, whether driving for work or pleasure. The National Safety Council reports that there have been over 40,000 deaths and 4 million injuries involving motor vehicles in each of the last two years. 

The road is fraught with hazards, and it’s critical that we see them so that we can avoid them. One thing that makes it tough to see hazards on the road are “blind spots” - the area behind the sides of your vehicle, pictured here.  These blind spots are hazards in and of themselves.  The long-taught “shoulder check” will be effective in eliminating the blind spots, but that action takes the driver’s eyes off the road ahead thus creating an additional hazard. 

Blind spots

One way to avoid hazards is to eliminate them.  This is always the first step in the “hierarchy of safety controls.”  With the recent trend of increasing highway fatalities it might be appropriate to revisit a topic we wrote about in 2009.  Improving visibility for passenger cars is as easy as making a small mirror adjustment.  Large trucks or vehicles with no center rear-view mirrors are a different challenge and this method is not effective.  The blind spots faced by those drivers are more difficult to eliminate; often convex mirrors are helpful, but what is directly behind the truck will still be in a blind spot.

However, there is an easy method to eliminate the hazard of “blind spots” through proper mirror adjustment for typical passenger cars.  It will take some time to adjust to what you see, but once you realize that you can see almost everything behind you this adjustment makes a huge difference. 

Mirror adjustments

  • To adjust the driver's side-view mirror, sit in the driver’s seat and place your head against the left side window.  Set the mirror so you can just barely see the left side of your car in the mirror's right side.
  • To adjust the passenger's side-view mirror, again sit in the driver’s seat, but position your head so that it is just above the center console.  Now set the mirror so you can just barely see the right side of the car in the mirror’s left side.

Seeing is believing, and when you’re behind the wheel it’s essential to know what’s happening all around your vehicle.  For more information on this mirror adjustment to eliminate blind spots, check out the written instructions from AAA and a Saab YouTube video.

By David Darnley