See and Be Seen Part 3: Adjust Car Mirrors for Safety

Did you know that the way you adjust your mirrors may help you avoid a car accident and serious injuries? In this installment of our See and Be Seen series, we will look at how a few small adjustments can make your mirrors work for you.

You have probably seen the advertisements for backup cameras and blind-spot detection devices on new vehicles, even if you do not have them on your own car, van or SUV. These systems – often available at an added cost – use sensors or cameras to allow you to “see” behind and beside your vehicle and effectively eliminate blind spots.

While there is no doubt that blind spots cause a number of accidents each year, even the most basic car comes with devices to help you see your blind spots: your mirrors. By following a few simple steps to adjust them properly, you can eliminate blind spots, reduce your chances of a crash, and increase your safety on the roadway.

The Rearview Mirror

According to reports compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), about 300 people die and an additional 18,000 people suffer injuries in backover accidents each year. Children and seniors particularly at risk. While this type of accident can involve any type of vehicle, tall vehicles such as SUVs, trucks, and vans are often especially difficult for driver to see behind.

To adjust your rearview mirror, center the mirror so that you can see directly behind your vehicle. Resist the temptation to tip it down to see children or other passengers in the backseat.

The Side Mirrors

There are about 240,000 to 610,000 lane-change police-reported motor vehicle accidents nationwide each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Often, blind spots play a role in these crashes. While they will never take the place of turning to look before you change lanes, your mirrors can help prevent a crash when used properly.

To set your driver’s side mirror, lean your head to the left and rest the side of your face against your driver’s side window. From that position, slowly move the mirror outward. Stop when you can only see a small portion of the side of your vehicle.

To set your passenger’s side mirror, lean to your right until your head is over the center console, roughly in the center of your car. From that position, slowly move the mirror outward until you can only see a small portion of the side of your vehicle. Unless you have electric mirrors, this may require assistance from someone outside of the car.

How Mirrors Help Avoid Accidents

This mirror placement is different than the mirror placement many drivers typically use. It may take some getting used to, but it will eliminate blind spots as much as possible. When you adjust your mirrors this way, everything will line up correctly to ensure you can see any vehicle approaching and overtaking you on the highway.

You will see the approaching vehicle in your rearview mirror, then in your side mirror while it is still in the view of your rear-view mirror. From there, it should appear in your peripheral vision while still visible in your side mirror. By giving you a sightline the entire time a vehicle is beside you, your mirrors can help to prevent a dangerous accident.

If You Are in A Crash, Call Cordisco & Saile LLC

Adjusting your mirrors properly and following other tips to see and be seen on Pennsylvania and New Jersey roads can cut down on car accidents, but there is little you can do to prevent all crashes with careless or negligent drivers. If you suffered serious injuries in a car accident, contact the car crash attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC today at 215-642-2335. We can help you get the help you deserve.

Meanwhile, check out the first two parts of our See and Be Seen series:

Part 1: Headlights Can Prevent a Car Crash

Part 2: Flashing Your Brakes Could Stop a Car Wreck