Your car has mirrors for a very good reason: you need to see behind you and beside you at all times, or your safety is compromised. You’ll also be a threat to other people on the road. But what if your mirrors are damaged or missing? How do you ensure that you’re driving safely if you’re forced to drive without mirrors?
Never a good idea
The first of several important safe driving tips is this: don’t drive without mirrors unless it’s absolutely essential, and then only drive the minimum amount needed. That means driving without mirrors should only be done in the case of an actual emergency (for instance, taking someone to the hospital).
Driving with fewer than two operational mirrors is against the law. This means if you have no side view mirrors or rear view mirror, you could possibly face getting a ticket. It reinforces the need to limit driving without mirrors to only critical emergencies.
Safe driving with no mirrors
Now that we have the warnings out of the way, let’s touch on the “how to” part of the question. The answer is “with great caution.” Remember that without mirrors, you don’t have an easy way to see behind or beside you. In a pinch, you can attach a blind spot mirror to the housing of the damaged driver side view mirror and enhance your safety somewhat.
Changing Lanes or Turning: Any time you want to turn left or right, or change lanes in those directions, you will need to physically turn your head over your shoulder and make sure you thoroughly check for other drivers. Also, make sure to check your blind spots carefully.
Behind You: Without a rearview mirror, you have no way to see behind the car. You can check by turning your head over your right shoulder and looking back, but limit this if you’re driving forward. It’s never a good idea to physically turn around while driving – accidents happen in far less time than it takes you to turn, observe, and then turn back again.
The bottom line is this – don’t drive without mirrors unless it’s a true emergency. Even then, drive with extreme caution and have your mirrors replaced immediately.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Drive Safely without Mirrors If You Have To and was authored by Valerie Johnston.