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Mirror checks

How often do you think you should check your rear view mirror? The answer is every five to eight seconds – not every five to eight minutes. Checking the mirror has a lot to do with short-term memory. As you glance in the mirror, do you really remember what you saw? For example, the driver you just saw in your mirror in the next lane from yours could be entering your blind spot. Once you check your mirror again, they may no longer be visible. Where did they go? Did they turn off that road, or are they in your blind spot?
Your short-term memory is important to ensure you respond correctly. Remember, always check your mirrors:

  • Before setting off
  • Before changing speed (on approach to a speed limit change, for example)
  • Before and after a manoeuvre
  • Every five to eight seconds as part of a regular sequences of glances immediately ahead, far ahead, down to the speedometer and in all your mirrors

We’ve all seen drivers making turns on to busy roads with other drivers approaching quickly from behind. If they had checked their mirrors immediately after turning, they would have responded correctly by speeding up to avoid slowing down the traffic flow. Using the information that is seen through your mirror is equally as important as checking the mirror.