Most driving schools spend very little time on teaching proper mirror adjustment as part of their driver’s ed program. And yes, it’s important enough to understand a concept like mirror adjustment that its worth reading a short article like this on the topic.
First off, lets talk about “rear view mirror history”. A little known fact is that the use of rear view mirrors in the automobile was ushered in via auto racing in the early 20th century. The rear view mirror was invented by Ray Harroun, who also won the first race at the Indianapolis Speedway in 1911. The real driving force, so to speak, behind the rear view mirror was to eliminate a second person who acted as an observer and the resulting weight reduction became a large benefit in a race.
Over history, driver’s education has at best given lip service to mirror adjustment and proper use. Modern driving schools will actually instruct their students how to properly adjust their mirrors. And then once they are properly setup, part of the driver training process is to continually drill students on proper mirror use in conjunction with turning, lane changes, etc.
For those experienced drivers, how many of us have started to make a lane change and then realized that there was indeed another car in a blind spot? I know I have – at least prior to being trained to correctly use mirrors at SWERVE Driving School. It is interesting that most drivers were never taught, as part of their driver’s education, that blind spots are not necessary. As a matter of fact, with a small amount of driving lesson instruction, these blind spots can be virtually “tuned-out”.
Ok, so here’s the secret to “blind spot free” driving that is taught by some driving schools in 3 simple steps:
Get in the driver’s seat, adjust position, etc.
Tilt your head to the left as far as you can and adjust your left mirror to just see a small “sliver” of the side of your car
Tilt your head to the right as far as you can and adjust your right mirror to just see a small “sliver” of the right side of the car
Then move your head to the normal, center position and you notice that you cannot see either side of your car anymore. Don’t worry – your mirror wasn’t stolen nor did it decide to run off into the sunset. You will now be able to see cars as they enter and exit around your vehicle leaving virtually no blind spot.
As mentioned, modern high quality driving schools teach this as well as many other techniques that have been developed as tools for novice drivers. The sad part is that driver training, in general, has not evolved over time and it is a rare school that actually teaches their students to be great drivers.