When driving, it’s not only important to know what’s going on in front and directly to the rear, but also to the sides of your car.
Side mirrors, also called door mirrors are important because they can help you to spot hazards such as overtaking vehicles, or cyclists and motorcycle riders that drive between cars in traffic (lane splitting). Effective observation using the side mirrors is also essential when changing direction.
How to Adjust the Car Side Mirrors
Use the following technique to adjust your car’s side mirrors to enable maximum visibility:
- Sit in your normal driving position and adjust the left and right side mirrors so that the horizon (where the ground and the sky meet) is running across the centre of the mirror.
- There should be roughly half sky and half ground in each half of the mirror.
- Angle each mirror so that you can only see a small amount of the side of your car in the mirror.
Side Mirrors are Different to Internal Mirrors
To enable greater visibility, your car’s side mirrors use curved glass called convex. Though convex glass provides a better field of vision, it gives an inaccurate representation for distance – things look further away.
Even with convex glass, you still can’t always see everything in your side mirrors. There’s certain areas that you sometimes have to physically look over your shoulder to check. These areas are called blind spots. To keep the blind spot areas to a minimum, it’s important to adjust the side mirrors for maximum visibility.