Defensive Driving – Mirrors

Knowing how to set outside mirrors to eliminate blind spots is a crucial part of being a defensive driver. It is fundamental to defensive driving techniques as well as drivers’ overall safety. While almost all vehicles come equipped with two outside mirrors, many drivers don’t set them properly, making the vehicle as dangerous as it would be if it were missing them.

Positioning Mirrors

The following procedures for correctly positioning mirrors will help drivers eliminate blind spots and avoid potential vehicle accidents.


To start, drivers should park their vehicle and place their head against the driver’s side window as pictured. They should set the mirror so they can just see the side of the car. For the passenger’s side mirror, drivers should position their head at the middle of the vehicle; again, setting the mirror so they can just see the side of the car.


Checking Blind Spots

This method should ensure that the mirrors are positioned outward enough to eliminate blind spots, but drivers should also double-check to be 100 per cent sure. To do this, drivers should sit in a normal driving position and watch the mirrors as a vehicle passes by.


It should appear in the outside mirror before it leaves the inside mirror. And it should appear in a driver’s peripheral vision before leaving the outside mirror.


Changing Lanes

When changing lanes, experts suggest looking first to the inside mirror for vehicles approaching from behind. Next, drivers should glance at the outside mirror to see if a vehicle is in the blind spot. If they see the entire front of a vehicle in the inside mirror and no vehicles in the outside mirror, it should be safe to change lanes. Drivers should not change lanes if the vehicle approaching from behind is closing in quickly.


A good practice for drivers to get into is turning their head over the appropriate shoulder to double-check the blind spot prior to changing lanes, and always indicating to the other drivers their intention of changing lanes or turning by using directional signals.


Mirrors in Defensive Driving

Mirrors are a key safety component to becoming a defensive driver. In order to be aware of the traffic around them and to anticipate hazardous situations, drivers should continually scan the road and always use their mirrors.