What if we tell you that you might have been improperly adjusting your side and rearview mirrors? Do you know that there is a correct way of doing it so you could maximize your rear and side vision? The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) says there is.
Most people were told to tilt their side mirrors a little inward so that they see a fraction of their vehicle. While this is a bit hard to change—as some might have gotten used to it—a paper published by the SAE states that this is not the best way to have them positioned.
This adjustment of the side mirror will not give you a good view of the vehicle that is passing halfway beside your vehicle. Rather, it results in a blind zone that makes lane-changing extremely dangerous whether you're just cruising in the city or at expressway-speed. It requires the driver’s complete awareness of the cars passing by from the side and the rear in order for them to make the right decision.
To adjust them correctly, you start by leaning towards the driver-side window, touching it with your head. You can proceed by adjusting your left side mirror to a point where you can see part of your car’s rear end. As soon as you get back to a normal sitting position, you will see nothing on the mirror but the rear left hand-side of the road. Adjust the right mirror using the same procedure by leaning over to your right, just above the center console.
The rearview mirror, on the other hand, is not advisable to be aligned parallel to your rear window. Adjust it correctly by having yourself in a normal sitting position, with your right hand tilting the mirror a bit towards your side as the driver. This way, you could frame the rear window on the center of your rearview mirror.
You must understand that these mirrors are designed to let you see approaching cars from your shoulder and rear. In fact, they need to work like a widescreen, as the side mirrors should show cars that are leaving the frame of the rearview mirror. Having them tilted improperly will give you inaccurate calculations that may lead to an accident.
Remember, your rearview mirrors are as important as your side mirrors, as this provides you a clearance of the cars that are about to pass by before you change your lane. With that said, we insist that you follow the guidelines we’ve provided in order for you to properly adjust both mirrors.
Notably, some rearview mirrors from more expensive vehicles come with an auto-dimming function which is very essential during nighttime, therefore reducing the glare of the car’s headlights trailing behind you. While some side mirrors are equipped with a blind-spot warning system which does provide you extra awareness upon changing your lane or overtaking.
Now, if you share a car with someone or perhaps you’re about to use your friend’s vehicle, then make it a habit to adjust your driving position, steering wheel, and most especially the mirrors as not all drivers have the same height to support the same settings at all times.