Tag Archives | rear view mirror
Don’t wing it
Side mirrors, otherwise known as wing mirrors, are crucial to maintaining good visibility around you on the road. Importantly, they inform you of where a cyclist may be in traffic when your rear-view mirror might not have picked them up. Unfortunately, wing mirrors are prone to damage. Should this happen, it may not appear a major priority but legally you need two working mirrors and one must be on the driver’s side. A damaged mirror dramatically reduces your visibility and affects the safety of other road users. Fixing a wing mirror can cost from £15 to £150, so it isn’t worth taking the risk and landing a hefty fine of up to £2,500.
Rear-view mirror trick
Getting dazzled by another driver’s full-beam lights is an annoying pitfall of driving at
night. Happily, there’s a handy trick to ensure the lights from the motorist behind you no
longer dazzle and distract you. It’s all down to the rear-view mirror in your car which has a
hidden switch. Simply by flicking this you will help reflect the light beams from the car behind
upwards and away from your eyes.
What looks like a flat mirror suspended from the middle of your windscreen is actually a
prismatic wedge, this is because your rear-view mirror is positioned at an angle which gives
off a glare when driving at night. By simply flicking the switch on your mirror you swap the
angle around, so any blinding light disappears as it is reflected upward and away from your
eyes. That little switch has been there all along, so check it out and make the most of it.
Making sure you adjust your side mirrors to the right position every time you get in the driver’s seat is essential. To adjust your right, driver-side mirror, always make sure the horizon is in the centre of the mirror. The horizon is the furthest point you can see, at which the road behind you disappears. Make sure you have a good view of any vehicles behind and to the right of you, and that you can only see a minimal amount of your own vehicle on the left of the mirror. Getting your correct side mirror positioning is important, as you’ll rely on this mirror a lot, especially when moving off, joining the dual carriageway and overtaking.
The same rules apply for the left side mirror. Adjust it until you can see the horizon in the centre and a minimal amount of the side of your car in the right side. Adjusting your left side mirror can be tricky if you don’t have electronic controls from the driver’s seat. You must always adjust your mirrors from the driver’s seat, because this is the view you’ll have at the wheel. If you can’t adjust your left side mirror from your seat, move it a little at a time, sitting back in the driver’s side each time to make sure the position is correct. Alternatively, if you have a passenger, ask them to move the mirror for you while you guide them.
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.