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How to adjust your mirrors.

You've been driving for many years. You know how to adjust your mirrors. Who do I take you for, some idiot?


Ok, so you may not be an idiot, but chances are, you don't have your side mirrors adjusted properly.

Lets take a look. Sitting in the driver's seat, looking at my passenger side mirror, this is what I see:

This is probably close to what you see/how you have your mirrors adjusted. About 1/3rd of the mirror looks down the side of the car, the other 2/3rds shows you what is beside you.

Now, lets take a look in your rear-view mirror:

Finally, lets take a look out your side window:

What's wrong with this picture? Let me show you.

Take a look at the pink squares. What your side mirrors is showing you is NOT what's beside you - it's what's behind you! It's information that is COMPLETELY DUPLICATED by your rear view mirror!

How to adjust your mirrors PROPERLY

To adjust your mirrors properly, put your head against the left side door glass, then adjust your left mirror OUT until you just barely can (or barely can not) see the side of your car. THEN, move your head to the center of your car and adjust your right mirror out until you can barely (or barely can not) see the side of your car. The goal is to set it up so that once a car leaves your REAR view mirror, it appears in your SIDE view mirror - and once it leaves your SIDE view mirror, it appears in your side window/peripheral vision. Unfortunately, some American cars don't let you adjust the mirrors out far enough to completely accomplish this. I recommend experimenting in a parking lot until you get the ideal angle.

Lets take a look at the results of adjusting the right mirror correctly:

A car! This car was completely invisible to me prior, unless I looked over my shoulder and through the rear quarter window. In Fara's Honda S2000 with the top up, this car would have been completely invisible.

Now, to further illistrate my point, I will drive forward about 10 feet until the car appears in my rear view mirror:

Here, you'll see that it's visible from approximately the rear of the car to the front of the front doors. Now, lets take a look in my side mirror:

Here, you can see the entire front of the car, including down most of the quarter panel. Essentially, very little (to no) part of the car is invisible.

Now, I will drive another 10 feet forward and take a look in my side mirror:

Here, the rear 1/3rd of the car is visible. When you look out the side window, this is what you see:

You can see the car. At this point it will be visible in your peripheral vision without even turning your head.

With mirrors in their new position, you have to turn your head less and you can see more while essentially eliminating your blind spots. It does take some getting used to - but give it a shot!

Send E-Mail to | AIM & Y!: kclinquist | Last Edited on: July 2006 | 2006 Kris Linquist