How to set up your rear view mirrors correctly

As driving instructors, we often get in the Learner Driver vehicles and watch students set up their rear view mirrors in many extraordinary ways!  Learning to set your mirrors up correctly can be the difference between anticipating and avoiding a crash, and ending up in serious trouble.  Your safety on the road is paramount, when there are so many bad drivers out there, by maximizing your field of vision around you, you drive with more defensive driving skill.

Correct Mirror Adjustment OMPTIMIZED

Picture number 1shows the correctway to set your mirrors up, we tend to suggest that you want to see the BACK door handle just in the left side of the mirror (or right side in the left mirror), around a third of the way up from the bottom of the mirror (as shown).  The importance here is to see as much of the road and as little of the car as possible.  The view of the car is only a reference point; this will help in the early days of learning to drive, to be able to have better ‘spatial awareness’, which further helps when learning to reverse, park and manage all of your other driving manoevres.

From a crash avoidance perspective, once you have this understanding of the space “around” your vehicle, you should look to move the mirrors out approximately 5% from the view of the car.   This supports better vision into the lane beside you, for example; on the Motorway as well as further behind you.

Incorrect Mirror adjustment OPTIMIZED

Picture 2shows the incorrectway to set up your mirrors; this is how we find many Parents or Supervisors have taught their Learner Driver to set them up!  As you can see, your view would be way too much of the vehicle and not enough of the road beside and behind you.  The whole point of your mirrors is to open up your field of vision and minimise blind spots.  Of course there are always blind spots, this is why we must ALWAYS do a “shoulder check”, to ensure we have checked the space closer to our vehicle PRIOR to any change we make on the road, such as pulling out from the kerb, or changing and merging lanes.

Simply, the more of the car you can see, the less of the road!  Many Parents and Supervisors say to us that they prefer to see more of their vehicle for parking and other tight spots; this is simply not safe and has more negative outcomes whilst driving on the roads.  More accidents occur whilst driving than doing manoevres.

If you have any questions about the correct way to set up your rear view mirrors, please don’t hesitate to contact one of your professional Streetwise Driver Training Gold Coast Driving instructors.