As a driver, you have been warned to keep your eyes on the road at all times. Don't look here and there while driving, don't use your mobile and drive, be alert, not distracted... there's a good reason why visibility and traffic safety go hand in hand. Even for a fleeting second, if you look somewhere else, you can cause or will be involved in an accident, especially while changing lanes on a busy road. Even if you do not take your eyes off the road, sometimes cars can come from the left and right lanes out of seemingly nowhere. Or you may change your lane and hit a car that didn't show up in your mirror. These sort of "appearing" acts, where cars behind and at the side of you, are invisible on your mirror, is due to a blind spot. Blind spots are areas around a vehicle, which are not visible to the driver in particular circumstances. How can you make sure you have a complete view of the road behind and at your car's side? By adjusting your car's mirrors to eliminate blind spots.
Blind Spot Mirror Placement
Before you start adjusting car mirrors to eliminate blind spots, first make sure your car seat is at the right alignment and is at the right height. Make sure you can comfortably sit in the seat and can see the road completely. You should be able to reach the car's pedals as well as all controls on and near the steering wheel. Fasten your seat belt and see if it needs adjusting, as even with the belt on, you should be able to reach any control in the car comfortably. If you feel the seat is too low, you may need to use a cushion or get the seat adjusted permanently by an auto shop. There are 3 mirrors to adjust; the rear-view mirror, the left side mirror and the right side mirror.
- Sit in the driver's seat and position the rear-view mirror, such that you can see the road and objects behind you.
- This does not mean you can see the rear of the car or the inside of the car.
- Do not tilt it to one side or the other. Make it centered and straight in alignment.
- Ideally it should project the view of the rear window of the car. The center of the mirror and the car's window should match.
- From your driver's seat, you should be able to see a car in your rear-view mirror.
- Start with the left side mirror. Sit in the driver's seat.
- Lean your head such that it touches the window. The usual side mirror position is such that you can see the left side of your car.
- Adjust the mirror such that you can barely see the left side of your car, in fact, it should hardly be visible.
- If you keep your head straight and look at the mirror, you should not be able to see your car's left side.
- Now center yourself in the middle of the car and lean towards the right side mirror.
- Adjust the mirror, such that you cannot see the car's right side. It should barely appear in the mirror.
- If you straighten yourself, you cannot see your car's sides in either side mirror and your rear-view mirror is straight ahead.
How to Check for Blind Spots While Driving
This sort of mirror arrangement may seem strange and you will take time to get used to the difference in reflected images. Most drivers are disturbed by the fact that they cannot see their cars. But you need to test the effectiveness of the adjustments made and this is possible only with a road test.
- Carry out your road test in a four-lane road. If you are a new driver and need confidence, test the mirror settings in a parking lot.
- You should be able to see the cars behind you comfortably in the rear-view mirror, without moving your head, only your eyes.
- Here's an example for testing: a car is changing lanes from your lane to the one on your left.
- The car is visible in your rear-view mirror. It turns its signal on.
- As it moves to the left, you can see its image move from your rear-view mirror into the left side mirror.
- You should be able to see it without turning your head, just one glance is enough.
- Now the car is completely in your left side mirror. It starts to overtake you.
- It will disappear from your side mirror and will appear completely at your side. You can see all this occur without moving your head.
- This movement should take place fluidly, thanks to your rear-view and side-view mirrors working in tandem.
- If the car disappears from your sight even for a minute, you will need to adjust the mirrors, as there is a blind spot. But only minor adjustments need to be done.
Getting used to mirror adjustments requires a little time and patience on your end. At first, not being able to see your own car is unsettling and parallel parking may become a little difficult. But with no blind spots, your road safety is enhanced, driving is made a little safer for you and for the people on the road with you. Plus, driving at night is also easier, as this sort of mirror arrangement cuts out the glare from a car's headlights behind you.