Your car has a number of safety features, but none are more important than your car mirrors. Without a functional car rear mirror and side view mirrors, you’d be unable to drive safely in a multi-lane situation, or even on a two-lane highway. They provide critical visibility of cars behind and beside you. Here are some tips for safely using your mirrors.

Adjusting your mirrors

The most critical thing for using your car side mirror or rear mirror correctly is to make sure they’re adjusted for your height. Each driver is different, and you’ll need to adjust all three mirrors every time someone else slides behind the wheel.

To adjust your side mirrors correctly, follow these simple steps:

  • Make sure you’re seated correctly and can reach the wheel and pedals easily

  • Adjust the side mirror outward until you can no longer see the side of your own car

  • Have someone stand beside and slightly behind your field of view, approximating a vehicle in the lane beside you

  • Make sure you can fully see them

  • Repeat this for the other side

For a visual explanation, Car and Driver has a great example.

For your rearview mirror:

  • Adjust the mirror up or down, left or right, until you can see the entirety of your back glass and the road behind you

Tips for safely using car mirrors

Whether you’ve had a car mirror replacement, or one of them has just been knocked out of alignment, follow these simple tips for better safety:

  • Always check the view from all three mirrors before getting on the road
  • Always adjust all three mirrors after anyone else has driven the vehicle
  • Always keep your mirrors clean and in good repair

With these tips, you should be able to use your mirrors safely at all times.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as The Safest Ways to Use Your Car Mirrors and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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