- top tips
How to set up your car mirrors
Updated 12 Oct 2019
So, if we advise you on setting up your car mirrors correctly, does that mean you’ll use them? Commonly, many people do not engage these practical tools in helping to get safely from A to B!
How can you see behind or beside you if you don’t properly set up your mirrors? With new blind spot monitoring technology on modern vehicles, it’s evident that drivers haven’t been setting their mirrors correctly and technology is now doing it for us.
The first thing you’re taught when learning to drive is to adjust your mirrors appropriately.
This is something you should always check before you start driving.
When your car is parked, there’s a chance someone may bump your side mirrors in passing, or you may have knocked the rear vision mirror when you last exited the car.
If someone else has been driving the car, the mirrors have most likely been set to their requirements, not yours.
Sometimes you may not notice the mirrors have been moved until you are out on the road, causing a potentially risky situation where you’re unable to manoeuvre safely.
There is a correct formula to setting up your mirrors, it’s not just a matter of pointing them backwards and hoping for the best!
Rear View Mirror
First, make sure your seat is where you want it to be before you start. The rear view mirror is fairly basic, you want to frame the rear window.
Be aware that there’s a toggle situated underneath your rear view mirror which can be flicked up and down, so make sure that in the day time it is flicked to be a true image.
At night you can flick it up or down so bright headlights do not distract you from driving.
This is a diverted image and not an actual true reflection so make sure you revert it back for day time driving.
The interior of your car may also appear in your mirror’s reflection, so try to move the mirror so there are no reflective images showing in your rear view.
When it comes to the side mirrors, the point where the road disappears on the horizon should be situated in the middle horizontal point of the mirror.
Once this is set, tilt your head left and right respectively and move the mirror sideways to the point where you can only just see the side of your car.
You do not need to see the side of your own car it is more important to see as much of the road next to your car as possible, so position the mirror to see the least amount of your car in it.
You can even test for blind spots by getting a friend to walk around the car. You will then be able to determine if you have blind spots and where they are.
When reversing, some people find that pointing the left mirror down helps to avoid running up against the gutter.
However, if doing this, remember to always be look behind the vehicle when reversing, which means turning around in your seat and truly looking out the rear window, not through a mirror.
Just because your mirrors are positioned correctly, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to check over your shoulder before you change lanes.
This is still essential to make sure you are not merging into other traffic that you weren’t aware of, or checking for bikes that are smaller and can be less noticeable on the road.
Positioning your car mirrors correctly and monitoring them in the right way will help you and other motorists enjoy a safer driving experience.
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Rachel spent her early adult life around cars, motorsport and hands-on with her own cars. This interest moved into various careers within the Automotive industry. Joined with her passion for writing, Rachel loves putting the two together to share her experience, so we can all become AutoGuru’s.