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Blind Spots: How to Properly Adjust Your Vehicle’s Mirrors

Vehicle's passenger side-view mirror with two vehicles in reflection following behind

Blind spots are a reality for every vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that there are 840,000 blind spot collisions each year, with 300 of them involving fatalities. However, there is a way to adjust your mirrors that provides you with almost total visibility of the road behind and beside you.

Here’s how to do it.

Rearview Mirror

Adjust the inside mirror, or rearview mirror, to show your vehicle’s entire rear window. You should be able to see the entire window by only moving your eyes; if you have to move your head to see the full window, you need to keep adjusting the mirror.

Rear view mirror in vehicle with blurred background of green trees and fence

Your rearview mirror reveals vehicles directly behind you. The mirror shows only a small part of the vehicles that are driving parallel to the driver behind you. The purpose of your side mirrors is to make up for the blind spots your rearview mirror leaves and to reveal any vehicles beside you.

Side-View Mirrors

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) published a paper in 1995 explaining how to properly adjust side-view mirrors so that you don’t have any blind spots.

This method positions side mirrors in a way that overlaps the rearview  mirror visibility, providing drivers with a continuous view of the road behind and beside them.

Left Side-View Mirror (on Driver’s Side)

To begin, lean your head against the window on the driver’s side. Move the mirror to the left until you can barely see the left side of your vehicle in the bottom right corner of the mirror.

Right Side-View Mirror (on Passenger’s Side)

For your right side-view mirror, lean the same amount of distance to the right, which is generally right above your center console. Move the mirror to the right until you can barely see the back right side of your vehicle in the bottom left corner of the mirror.

Make Sure It Works

There is an easy way to test the effectiveness of your mirrors and if the vehicle’s blind spots are eliminated.

When a vehicle comes up behind you, the vehicle should first show up in your rearview mirror. Let’s say the vehicle passes you on the right side. As soon as the vehicle’s right headlight disappears from the rearview mirror, the right headlight should immediately show up in your right side-view mirror. The same applies to a vehicle’s left headlight if it passes you on the left side.

If there is any delay, you need to adjust your mirrors. A great way to safely check your blindspots is to pull up to a line of parked cars, representing a lane of traffic next to you.

Line of vehicles in traffic, sides of trucks, side-view mirrors

By properly adjusting your mirrors, you can have a blind-spot-free view of the road and vehicles around you. Better visibility reduces your risk of causing a car accident by crashing into another driver beside you.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact the Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas for a free consultation. We’re dedicated to providing you with the best legal counsel in East Texas.