How to adjust car mirrors

The person in your blind spot would appreciate you seeing this.

Even with the rash of new sensors and driver assistance technologies in cars lately, a piece of glass the size of your hand remains the best technology for knowing what’s alongside your car and not merging into it. Here’s the admittedly non-intuitive way to adjust your side view mirrors to do that job.

Adjust your seat. (See our other CNET how to to get that done easily.)

Lean left. Put your head almost against the left door glass. I know it seems weird, just do it. Now set that side mirror so you just see a sliver of that side of your car.

Lean right. Put your head about where the center console is adjust the right hand mirror to just see a sliver of that side of the car. .

Check it out. It may seem odd at first, but get on the road and notice how wide the view is across all your mirrors. You’re probably seeing much more of what’s behind you, yet with enough overlap between the mirrors that you won’t miss anything in a gap. The way you used to adjust your mirrors probably had a lot more redundancy – and blind spot – between them.

How to adjust car mirrors

Good visibility while driving is paramount to roadway safety. Are your car mirrors adjusted correctly, or do you unknowingly create larger blind spots by following poor rules of thumb? Use this guide to help create nearly seamless visual contact all the way around your vehicle.

How to Adjust Your Car Mirrors

Carmakers have recently started offering blind-spot detection systems employing cameras and/or radar to scan behind the vehicle while backing up and the adjacent lanes while driving to improve safety. Unfortunately, only the newest car models come with these expensive features. For the rest of us, good old rear and side view mirrors are the only options.

Adjust the Rear View Mirror

This mirror is intended to provide a clear view of the lane behind you. Adjust it so the entire rear window is visible from the driver’s seat without needing to move your head.

If you stand 6 feet or taller, you may want to reposition the rear view mirror upside down. This raises the bottom of the mirror 1 to 2 inches and can substantially reduce a major blind spot that many taller drivers experience.

Adjust Side View Mirrors

Common misconception: The proper way to adjust side view mirrors is to hold your head still and align the edge of the mirror with the side of your car.

Problem: This merely reflects some of what is already shown in the rear view mirror while leaving a wider blind spot to the side of the car.

To properly adjust your side view mirrors:

  • Lean to the left and rest your head on the window. Adjust the driver’s side view mirror so only a sliver of your car’s side is visible from this position.
  • Lean to the right toward the center console and set the passenger’s side view mirror so you can barely see the side of your car from this position. If your vehicle lacks remote mirror adjustment controls, you may need assistance to properly position the passenger’s side view mirror.

Other Safety Measures

Along with adjusting the mirrors in your car or truck for the best possible visibility, don’t forget to:

  • Familiarize yourself with this new mirror setting. If you’re accustomed to seeing a sliver of your car in each side view mirror while sitting straight, a more outward viewing angle may be disorienting at first. Park on the side of the road and watch how passing vehicles move through your rear and side view mirrors. When you’re ready, head out into traffic and put your new mirror settings to the test.
  • Look over your shoulder to check blind spots before changing lanes. After all, even properly adjusted mirrors can’t eliminate all blind spots. This safety precaution further reduces the chance of getting in an accident.
  • Set the rear view mirror for nighttime driving. Manual mirrors have a tab at the bottom you can flip to dim the lights of the cars charging up behind you. Power mirrors enter nighttime mode automatically to help prevent headlights from blinding you while you drive.

Driving Someone Else’s Car

When you get behind the wheel of your friend’s car, don’t forget to:

  • Sit straight and adjust the rear view mirror.
  • Lean left to adjust the driver’s side mirror.
  • Lean right to adjust the passenger’s side mirror.

These mirror adjustments are important, no matter how short of a distance you’re driving.

If your friend’s car mirrors are adjusted based on poor rules of thumb, this is your chance to explain how to properly adjust car mirrors. Spread the word and make the road safer for all! Want to take a road trip? Aire Serv, a fellow Neighborly company, has five trips where you won’t need AC!

Updated May 1, 2019

How to adjust car mirrors

There is a reason driver’s education teachers hound you about checking your mirrors.

Your side and rear-view mirrors are among the most important safety features on your vehicle. Without them, you would only be able to view a fraction of the roadway at a time and your odds of a collision would skyrocket. While glancing from side to side and upwards every few seconds may be a bit awkward at first, developing the habit of correctly using your mirrors is a top priority.

Before you hit the road, you must adjust your side and rearview mirrors so that you have clear visibility in each of them. Here’s how:

How to Adjust Your Mirrors Properly

Sit in the driver’s seat. Position the seat and steering wheel so that you are comfortable and have access to the gear shifter, brake pedal, and accelerator.

Gently maneuver the rear view mirror so that you can see directly out of the middle of your back windshield without moving your head. The goal is to be able to quickly glance from the road in front of you to the road behind you without having to move or turn your body.

How to adjust car mirrors
Make sure you’re sitting in your usual position while adjusting a rear view mirror

Locate the levers or buttons that adjust the side mirrors. Many newer models have a small lever or joy-stick on the driver’s side door that electronically adjusts the side mirrors. Older models often require you to manually adjust them using a lever or by pressing on the mirror itself.

Never experiment with these buttons while driving

Adjust the driver’s side mirror first. Make adjustments then sit back in the driver’s seat to ensure that you can see the road behind you and a small sliver of the side of your car.

Next, adjust the passenger side mirror. If you have to adjust it manually, you may need to move between the passenger’s and driver’s seats until it is properly adjusted.

After all mirrors have been adjusted, sit in the driver’s seat and look in each, starting with the driver’s side mirror. You should view everything behind you in segments as you glance along.

To summarize, here is a video guide for mirror adjustment.

Now that your mirrors are adjusted, here are some driving scenarios that require you to use your mirrors:

How to Use Your Mirrors Properly

Merging on the Interstate

When changing lanes, first check your rearview mirror to see if any cars are following you. As you begin to signal your intention to turn, check the side mirror on the side you plan to merge to. For example, if you plan to merge from the left lane to the right lane, check your right side mirror for traffic approaching in that lane. Continue to glance between your rearview and side mirrors as you complete the merge. The video below contains a smart tip for choosing appropriate timing while changing lanes.

General Driving

Safety experts recommend that you keep a constant scan of all your vehicle’s mirrors while driving. Take a quick glance at one mirror every five seconds starting with the driver’s side mirror.

Parallel Parking

All three of your mirrors are essential to successfully parallel parking your vehicle. Check out How to Parallel Park for more information on how to use your mirrors to squeeze your vehicle into a tricky parking space.

The following video will also give you an idea of how to use mirrors while parking:

When Pulling a Trailer

Checking your mirrors is a must when your vehicle is pulling a trailer of any kind. When making turns, watch the mirror to the inside of the turn to ensure that the trailer’s wheels do not hit the curb.

Proper adjustment and usage of your vehicle’s side and rearview mirrors will prevent dangerous blind spots and keep your vehicle out of the path of approaching traffic.

Ladies, remember that your rearview mirror really isn’t for make-up application, especially while operating the car!

The person in your blind spot would appreciate you seeing this.

Even with the rash of new sensors and driver assistance technologies in cars lately, a piece of glass the size of your hand remains the best technology for knowing what’s alongside your car and not merging into it. Here’s the admittedly non-intuitive way to adjust your side view mirrors to do that job.

Adjust your seat. (See our other CNET how to to get that done easily.)

Lean left. Put your head almost against the left door glass. I know it seems weird, just do it. Now set that side mirror so you just see a sliver of that side of your car.

Lean right. Put your head about where the center console is adjust the right hand mirror to just see a sliver of that side of the car. .

Check it out. It may seem odd at first, but get on the road and notice how wide the view is across all your mirrors. You’re probably seeing much more of what’s behind you, yet with enough overlap between the mirrors that you won’t miss anything in a gap. The way you used to adjust your mirrors probably had a lot more redundancy – and blind spot – between them.

Experts say if you want to be effective in driving, you have to watch your back more than your front. Hence, when you learn to drive a car, your instructor tells you to adjust the mirrors before doing anything else.

Adjusting your rearview mirror is key because there are some blind spots you have to deal with. You need to be very clear that your tail is clear before you make a turn or change your lane.

In this guide, we will tell you to get rid of these blind spots when you try to adjust your rearview mirror as soon as you get into your car.

So let’s begin with the process.

Adjust Your Side Mirrors First

It’s never a good idea to adjust while driving. So adjust your mirrors before you start driving. According to NHTSA, a lot of accidents occur due to distracted driving.

You have to adjust your side mirrors first before you start working on your rear-view mirror. To make sure you don’t have to deal with any blind spots, use your rearview mirror along with your side mirrors.

Lean towards your left to adjust your side mirror

(From driving test tips)

Begin by leaning your head towards the driver’s window on your left. If your vehicle has a conventional mirror instead of the contemporary electrical side mirror, adjust it so that you can see the side of your car. The view should cover the entire mirror.

Now start adjusting until you see the rear quarter panel, which is the back end of your car. When you do it correctly, the rear end of your car will cover one-third of your mirror view.

Lean Towards the Right and Adjust the Other Mirror

(Iamge from drivingtesttips)

Turn your attention to adjusting the other side mirror. Make sure your head should be close to the centre of your vehicle. Do this as much as you can without leaving your vehicle.

From here, try to position the right mirror, so you see your vehicle’s rear end in the mirror on the passenger side. Just like what you did with the side mirror on your side, make sure the other side of your vehicle is only covering one-third of the view in the mirror.

(Iamge from Wikipedia)

It’s Time to Adjust the Rear View Mirror in the Center

Now, get back to your position in your seat like you normally sit while driving. Make adjustments to the rearview mirror so you can see all your rear windows. You must not tilt the side mirror towards either side to have a better view of the traffic from the rear window.

The purpose of this rearview mirror is to compensate for what your side mirrors can’t show. You should use your rearview mirror to compensate for the side mirror you have adjusted correctly.

Double Check that Removal of Blind Spots

Check All the Adjustments from Your Normal Seated Position while Driving

(Iamge from dickscottblog)

You don’t adjust all your mirrors to see your car from both sides. You have to adjust them in a way that you get a wider view of the traffic that surrounds you. If you see your car’s sides in either of your side mirrors, follow the above-mentioned steps to properly adjust them. In most cases, you will adjust them in a way they point more outwards.

Check the view of the side mirrors after adequate adjustment.

When you have properly adjusted your side mirrors, you will see more lanes on the road on your side. It will allow you to keep an eye on the cars coming up on you from behind.

You can also visually follow them and maintain a safe distance. Your side mirrors are directly playing an important role to eradicate any blind spots when you are viewing in your rearview mirror.

You might have to quickly see it through the window for added safety right before you change the lane. You can see other vehicles or objects on your side or approaching you from behind.

Check the transitions of objects from the rearview mirror to side mirrors.

Most people forget to eradicate any blind spots. The view from the rearview mirror to the side mirrors should be smooth, and there shouldn’t be any gap.

You need to pay attention to any vehicle passing you by. View them in your centre mirror and then see them in your corresponding side-view mirror. The transition of the view should be smooth.

Ensure the vehicle passing by you should appear on your side mirror as soon as it leaves the central mirror. This transition should be smooth and confirm the elimination of any blind spots.

(Image from driving-tests)

If there is some pause between the vehicle leaving your centre mirror and its appearing in the side mirror, you have to make some adjustments because of the blind spot in your rearview.

Have a look at this video for a quick reference,

Final Word

Your rearview mirror on the centre works in tandem with your side mirrors. They work together to provide you with a full view of what’s going on behind your car. Therefore, you have to constantly check all mirrors and see if any of them requires any adjustments.

You just need to have a glance to notice everything behind you rather than have an extended look. Any prolonged stares can distract you from your front view, which can be hazardous. You need to peek at each of these mirrors every 10 seconds at least. Frequently, looking behind will allow you to draw a mental picture of the cars behind you to maintain your lane or turn accordingly.

How to adjust car mirrors

Your vehicle’s side- and rear-view mirrors are designed to give you a good view of the road behind you while minimizing blind spots. Adjusting them properly is very easy, but it’s also key to staying safe on the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year, blind spots factor into about 840,000 side-to-side collisions, helping cause 300 deaths, plus thousands of injuries millions of dollars in damages. Proper mirror adjustment and use can help minimize blind spots and reduce the chances of a blind spot collision.

If you’re driving a car that is not your own, or if you recently let someone else drive your car, it can be very easy to forget to adjust your mirrors before you hit the road. Mirrors can also fall out of adjustment due to vibration or bumps as you drive. However, it’s never a good idea to try to adjust your mirrors while driving , as distracted driving is a major cause of vehicle accidents. Instead, get in the habit of taking a quick glance at all your mirrors before you set off to make sure your rearward visibility is optimized!

Follow the steps below to adjust and use your mirrors properly.

How to Adjust Your Side Mirrors

Here’s how to adjust your left and right side-view mirrors for the best visibility:

  1. Locate your car’s mirror adjustment controls. Most modern cars have an electronic switch that controls the position of your left and right-side mirrors. These switches will have buttons that move your mirrors upward, downward, left, and right. They’ll also have a button that switches control between the left mirror and the right mirror. It’s important to know where this switch is located in any car you drive and how to operate it, so it’s easy to adjust your side mirrors.
  2. Adjust the side-to-side position. Toggle the side mirror adjustment switch to control your left-side mirror. Then, move your head until it’s resting against the lift-side window. Look at your left-side mirror, and adjust it until you can just barely see the edge of your car in the inside of the mirror. Then, toggle the mirror adjustment switch to control your right-side mirror. Move your head to the right, so it’s positioned right above your car’s center console. Now, set the ride-side mirror, so you can just start to see the edge of your car on the inside of the mirror. This positioning will help maximize your view of the road behind you while minimizing your blind spots.
  3. Adjust the up-and-down position. Use the side mirror adjustment switches to set your side-view mirrors vertical position. You should give yourself the best possible view of the road behind, but exact vertical placement often comes down to personal preference. You don’t want to see too much sky or too much road. Instead, it’s best to balance the position of each mirror so you can see traffic clearly as well as curbs while parallel parking.

How to Adjust Your Rear-View Mirror

How to adjust car mirrors

Once your side mirrors are adjusted properly, it’s easy to adjust your rear-view mirror. Be sure to sit normally and use minimal head movements when looking at your rear-view mirror. Then, manually move the mirror until your view is straight out of your car’s rear window, centered, and level. The goal is always to maximize your rearward view.

Depending on your vehicle, your rear-view mirror may also have a manual adjustment tab for night-time driving. These tabs are generally in the center of your mirror, along the bottom. Moving the tab all the way forward or backward will adjust the tilt position of the rear-view mirror. In the daytime position, it will look normal. But, in the night-time position, you will be unable to see much of anything, except headlights. Use this position for driving at night, so other cars’ headlights don’t obscure your vision but be sure to switch back for day-time driving. If your rear-view mirror does not have a manual adjustment tab, it should handle this switch for you automatically.

How to Use Your Mirrors While Driving

Together, your car’s mirrors will give you a good view of the road around and behind your car. It’s best to scan all of your mirrors frequently while driving, using quick glances rather than long, extended stares that can distract you from the road ahead. As you’re driving, glance at each mirror roughly once every 10 seconds, at minimum. This way, you can build up a mental picture of the cars around you on the road.

While mirrors alone will not eliminate your blind spots fully, having them adjusted properly and using them correctly will help you keep track of other cars around you. You should always check your blind spots with a quick turn of the head before changing lanes or making any other lateral movements. But, actively monitoring your mirrors and tracking your fellow motorists can help you avoid surprises and potential accidents.

To learn more about handling blind spots in Texas, California, Florida, or anywhere else in the US, have a look at our certified drivers education courses.

27 February, 2021

How to adjust car mirrors

When it comes to driving, the rearview mirror is a very important safety feature to pay attention to. If you do not see the rearview mirror, then you can risk your safety as you cannot see the rear surrounding, thereby increasing the risk of a collision with other vehicles.

For novice drivers, of course, glancing at the rearview mirror is not your main priority as you want to focus on the front side to ensure the car is running smoothly. However, getting used to seeing the rearview mirror is very important to do and by looking at the rearview mirror, you will know the condition of the vehicle behind.

When you start running your car, you should first adjust the mirrors to adjust the visibility. In regulating the visibility of the rearview mirror, it cannot be done carelessly, because various things need attention.

In the following, we will give you how to set the correct car rearview mirror to make it easier for you while driving.

1. Adjust Driver’s Seat Position

How to adjust car mirrors

The first thing you have to do is sit in the driver’s seat and make sure the seat position allows you to control the steering wheel comfortably. Make sure you have access to the brakes, shift gears, and accelerators.

Now is the time to pay attention to the rearview mirror located at the front. Adjust it slowly and make sure the position is upright so you don’t have to move your head to look at the back. By adjusting the position of the rearview mirror, you no longer need to spend energy turning your body to see the rear side.

2. Adjust The Side Mirrors

How to adjust car mirrors

Car designs are indeed more varied with technological developments because many features make it very easy for drivers. Not only about the internal features, but also the various features on the outside of the car.

Many cars have a small control lever on the side door and this lever can be used to adjust the position of the side mirrors. If you are using an older model car, then you have to adjust the position of the mirrors manually by using a lever or pressing the mirror directly.

3. Adjust the Driver’s Side Mirror

How to adjust car mirrors

Car drivers benefit from the presence of the side mirror because it is very helpful in seeing the condition of other vehicles on the back. If the car does not use a side mirror, of course, this is very dangerous to safety.

After you sit in the driver’s seat, it’s a good idea to make sure the side mirrors are properly positioned and make sure you can see the road at the back so that the sides of the car can be seen too.

4. Adjust The Passenger’s Side Mirror

How to adjust car mirrors

Not only do the passengers have to sit in the correct position in the car, but the passenger beside them must also have the right seating position and make sure to wear a seat belt so that it is safer to drive.

If the side mirror by the driver has been adjusted, then you must also adjust the rearview mirror on the side of the passenger. If you use manual mirrors, then you have to move the rearview mirror by moving the seat to the passenger side.

5. Check All Car Mirrors by Sitting In the Driver’s Seat

How to adjust car mirrors

If you have adjusted all the mirrors correctly and you want to check them again, then you just sit in the driver’s seat. Look at all the rear and side mirrors, and ensure that their position has been adjusted to help you see your surroundings. Make sure you can see the rear comfortably so that you can overtake other vehicles safely and you can more easily park your vehicle.

Wuling Family, the presence of a car mirror is very important for the safety of you and other passengers while driving. Don’t have trouble seeing the position of the car behind you while driving. By adjusting the position of the mirrors correctly, it will be easier for you to drive every day.

Official Blog

How to adjust car mirrors

Mirrors aren’t a major discussion point when learning how to drive or when taking your driver’s test, and yet they are the main cause behind merge and lane-changing accidents. Sometimes they are talked about, but often the wrong instructions are provided.

If your mirrors aren’t positioned properly, you could have huge blind spots, big enough for a truck to fit into. Luckily, you can eliminate blind spots completely by learning how to properly position and use your vehicle’s mirrors.

Are your mirrors positioned correctly?

How to Properly Position Vehicle Mirrors to Remove Blind Spots

Many drivers think that they should be able to see the side of their car when driving. While you may have a better view of the area right next to your car, your side-view mirror should show you what’s in the lane next to yours. You should not be able to see the side of your car while driving.

Following these steps will eliminate most, if not all, of your vehicle’s blind spots; however, you may still have a blind spot. After adjusting your car mirrors to the correct position, check to see where your blind spot is.

DRIVING SAFETY: Mirror adjustments will improve your ability to see the road, however, it should not replace checking over your shoulders for traffic. You should always glance over your shoulder when merging, changing lanes, or making any lateral movement.

Adjust Your Seat

Before adjusting the vehicle’s mirrors, make sure you are sitting in the proper position for driving. Refer to your owner’s manual if you don’t know where your seat adjusters are located.

Move the seat forward and back, and up and down (if your car has this adjustment option). You should be able to comfortably reach the gas pedal, brake pedal, and if necessary, the clutch pedal.

Once you have adjusted your seat, buckle your seatbelt before positioning your mirrors. This ensures you are in the same position as when you are actually driving.

DRIVING SAFETY: Always buckle up when driving.

Adjust Rearview Mirror

Check the rearview mirror positioning every time you get in the car and every time you change seat adjustments. Since vehicle vibrations can cause the mirror to move in small increments, you may also need to adjust the rearview mirror after you start driving.

DRIVING SAFETY: Only make rearview mirror adjustments when the vehicle is stopped. Check your rearview mirror every time you time you get in the driver’s seat.

When using this mirror, you want to be able to see as much of the back window as possible, using only your eyes, not your head. Sit in your normal driving position and adjust the rearview mirror in small movements until you can see clearly out of the back window.

For drivers taller than 6 feet: You may want to flip the mirror upside down. This can raise the bottom edge of the mirror a few inches, helping to eliminate a major blind spot.

What you should see:

  • The road behind you.
  • The horizon line.
  • A little space above the horizon line.
  • Try to see the entire rear window.

Do not angle the mirror so you can see more of one side of the road. If you are trying to see more of one side of the road, use your side-view mirrors. The rearview mirror should show a straight, even image of the back window.

DRIVING SAFETY: Check your rearview mirror every 5-8 seconds. By constantly referencing your rearview mirror, you’ll know who is passing you, who has already passed you, and who is acting sporadically or dangerously behind you. Check your mirrors often!

Adjust Side-View Mirrors

You don’t want to see the side of your car; you want to see the car in the lane next to you. Adjusting your side-view mirrors in the following fashion will show you more of the lanes next to you.

Driver’s Side Window:

To adjust the driver’s side-view mirror, lean your head over to the driver’s side window until it makes contact with the glass. From there, adjust the driver’s side-view mirror until you can barely see the back corner of the car.

Passenger’s Side Window:

To adjust the passenger’s side-view mirror, lean the same distance toward the passenger’s side window (about as far as you can lean comfortably) and adjust the side-view mirror the same way—make sure you can see a little bit of the back corner of the car.

Side-View Mirror Adjustments:

Once you have adjusted your side-view mirrors this way, sit back in a normal position and make small changes from there.

Set your mirrors so that as soon as the passing car disappears from your rearview mirror, it shows up in your side-view mirror. You may need to make some small adjustments to get everything lined up.

This new position may take some time getting used to, but hopefully it greatly expands your vision of the road and eliminates all of your blind spots!

How to Properly Use Your Mirrors

  • Look in your mirror every time you stop or start, pass a car, turn, merge, switch lanes, pull over.
  • Check your rearview mirror every 5-8 seconds.
  • Check your mirrors every time you get in the driver’s seat and readjust (if necessary)
  • Use your mirrors more often in irregular and high-traffic situations. The mirrors will help you navigate a difficult driving situation.
  • If you have an anti-glare function on your rearview mirror, consider activating it at night to reduce the glare effect from headlights behind you.

Remember M.S.M.O.G.

When changing lanes:

  • Mirror (rearview mirror)
  • Signal
  • Mirror (side-view mirror)
  • Over your shoulder
  • Go

With these settings and instructions, you shouldn’t have any blind spots. Test your blind spot while driving to see if cars transition seamlessly from your rearview mirror to your side-view mirror.

Always check the mirrors before driving. You never know if they have been moved or if you were sitting in a different position since the last time you drove.

Remember, even perfectly positioned mirrors sometimes cannot eliminate all blind spots. Make sure you look over your shoulder before making any lateral moves.

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