It is commonly taught that you should check your mirrors every 5-7 seconds, which is a good starting point. However, this advice doesn't cover how to actually check your mirrors. Believe it or not, most people do not correctly adjust their mirrors nor do they know the correct method for checking their mirrors once properly adjusted. Unfortunately their drivers ed failed them, but never fear, we can help. The real purpose of using your mirrors is to know what is around you car at all times. Your mirrors are used to gather information on what's directly behind you and to both sides. A complete picture of what is happening around your vehicle puts you in control of your situation and provides a means of being a proactive driver.
With a little practice, properly using your mirrors can make driving less stressful, less dangerous, and simply more fun. Taking these driving tips to heart will take a little bit of effort, but they are definitely worth it. Make sure your mirrors are setup correctly. This is very important and an entire mirror adjustment driving tip is available for this purpose. At first most drivers may have difficulty getting used to this setup, but trust me, properly adjusted mirrors definitely create a safer driving environment.
A few tips for using your mirrors:
- The next item is to understand that with properly adjusted mirrors you should not be turning your head to check the mirrors. Using your peripheral vision is the trick here and it only takes a quick glance at each of the mirrors to get a picture of what surrounds your car.
- Develop a routine for scanning your mirrors. Check the left side mirror, rear view mirror, and then finally the right side mirror. Practice this pattern until it becomes natural and something you perform smoothly.
- Get in a routine of checking your mirrors every 5-7 seconds. With properly adjusted mirrors and using your peripheral vision for scanning you will have a complete 360 degree view of your vehicle surroundings.
- Keep your eyes moving. With practice, and this does require practice, you will be surprised how easy it is to have a great view of your surroundings. If you find yourself not scanning often enough, consider that you may be getting tired and in need of a rest break.
- In rapidly changing traffic, check your mirrors more often as the situation is changing quickly. The more you understand about your surroundings the quicker you can react and avoid dangerous situations that would otherwise catch you by surprise.
- Note that the conditions are ever changing as cars come into your view or leave the road. You can tell if you are potentially holding up traffic and move the to right if required, which is a whole topic onto itself. Having a holistic view of your surroundings will provide the means of predicting how other drivers are proceeding allowing you to plan your moves appropriately.