In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we learned that "Watching for COPS!" and proper mirrors that are properly adjusted are the tools to keep you out of trouble and make you a better defensive driver. Now, let's review what we've learned so we can put it all together into proper mirror usage.First, we use good mirrors so we can? That's right, Watch for COPS! Second, we keep our mirrors properly adjusted so we can? Correct, Watch for COPS! So, pulling this all together, when driving we should be using our mirrors to? Brilliant people, brilliant, we're Watching for COPS!All kidding aside, this isn't a lesson on how to avoid traffic tickets. This is how I learned to become a very defensive and safe driver. I spend more time on the road than most people. I average about 25,000 miles a year. In fact, since the age of 16 when I started driving (now 50), I have logged over 500,000 miles, and I have never been in an accident.In the past five or so years, I can count the number of times that a Highway Patrol Officer or Police Officer has snuck up on me on one hand. I'm very alert to what's behind me. My rear view mirror skills have saved me from several rear end accidents because I saw the idiots before they got me. And that's my point. Watch for COPS and save your rear end, and possibly your life.I have a very simple method for Watching for COPS! Every time someone passes me, I check my mirrors. If I see brake lights in front of me, I check my mirrors. When I pass someone, I check my mirrors. When I pass an off-ramp, I check my mirrors. When I pass an on-ramp, I check my mirrors (and look up the on-ramp for COPS!). When I want to change lanes, I check my mirrors, turn on my signal indicators, check my mirrors again, then I change lanes. These are all visual indicators that tell me the road has changed, so I Watch for COPS!Good defensive driving requires you to know what's going on around you. To know what's about to happen, you need to be looking a few cars ahead of you as well as a few cars behind you. Being involved in an accident can be avoided if you train yourself to Watch for COPS!See you on the road!-------------------David Bynon is an automotive industry blogger, online community builder, computer science author, and co-author of multiple patents for car care products. Founder and former owner of the Autopia forum, Bynon loves finely detailed vehicles of all makes and vintage. You can tune-in to his blog at GuideToDetailing.com or follow him on twitter.com/Guide2Detailing.
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