Family Car Advice: Use Your Mirrors

June 10, 2010

I've been on the road this past week, and while out on the highways and byways, I've noticed something about driver behavior. It's not exactly a revelation, but it bears repeating: Too many people don't check their mirrors when driving.

Over the past few days, I've seen several drivers carelessly change lanes, cutting off other drivers (including a heavy-duty truck which was towing 9,000 lbs.) and needlessly putting themselves and others at risk of an accident.

So, I'm going to relate a piece of advice. Yes, you were told this in driver's ed, but it bears repeating: Use your mirrors.

The sideview and rearview mirrors should be set up properly, to minimize blind spots. And drivers should still turn their heads before changing lanes. Once your mirrors are set up correctly, you should make a steady habit of checking them periodically, and certainly before changing lanes or turning.

I know this sounds like no-brainer advice. Or a rant. But it's amazing at how many drivers I see who look straight ahead while maneuvering through traffic. Using your mirrors correctly will help keep yourself and everyone around you safe.

The best way to set up your mirrors is to make sure the sideview mirrors don't reflect any of your own car, and that the rearview covers the middle. That will minimize the chances of a car lurking in your blind spot. Don't rely solely on your mirrors, though. Be sure to turn your head and look.

Yes, many current cars are available with blind-spot monitoring systems, and they add a level of safety and security. But they aren't meant to replace the mirrors.

So please, keep yourself and your family safe--check your mirrors as part of your driving routine.

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