Proper Mirror Adjustment | THE BASICS

| Driving Lessons |

Learning to drive is a comprehensive process that involves much more than mastering the pedals and steering wheel. One of the fundamental skills that every new driver must learn is the proper adjustment of their car’s mirrors. Correct mirror adjustment is crucial for safe driving, as it maximizes visibility and minimizes blind spots, which are areas around the vehicle that the driver cannot see through the mirrors or directly. This blog article will guide you through a practical activity designed to teach new drivers how to adjust their mirrors correctly, identify common errors, and recognize the signs that they’ve grasped this essential skill.

Goal: Ensuring Optimal Visibility

The primary goal of mirror adjustment is to ensure that the driver has the best possible view of the sides and rear of the car. Properly adjusted mirrors are a critical component in safe driving, allowing the driver to monitor the traffic around the vehicle effectively, make safer lane changes, and reduce the risk of accidents.

Activity: Hands-On Mirror Adjustment

To help your new driver learn this skill, follow these practical steps:

  1. Adjust the Side Mirrors: Start with the side mirrors. The driver should adjust them so that they can see just a small portion of the side of the car. This serves as a reference point and ensures that the mirrors are oriented outwards enough to capture more of the lane next to the car and the beginning of the lanes further out, thereby reducing blind spots.
  2. Adjust the Rearview Mirror: Next, adjust the rearview mirror. The aim here is to get the best full view possible out the back window. This adjustment should allow the driver to see directly behind the car through the rear window without having to crane their neck or move their head significantly.
  3. Check Mirror Adjustment: An effective way to check the adjustments is by conducting an external check. The instructor or parent can walk around the outside of the car to various positions and ask if they can be seen in the mirrors. This exercise not only helps in confirming the accuracy of the mirror adjustments but also visually demonstrates to the driver how mirror adjustments affect visibility.

Common Errors in Mirror Adjustment

Many new drivers make similar mistakes when adjusting their mirrors for the first time. Common errors include:

  • Insufficient Side and Rear View: Failing to adjust the mirrors so that they provide a clear and wide view of the sides and rear of the car.
  • Large Blind Spots: Incorrectly adjusted mirrors that leave too large a blind spot, which significantly increases the risk of missing other vehicles during lane changes or merges.

Sign Learner Gets It: Habitual Adjustment

The clear sign that a new driver understands the importance of mirror adjustments and has mastered the skill is when they start adjusting the mirrors as a habit before each drive. This indicates that they recognize the critical role of visibility in safe driving and are taking proactive steps to ensure they have the best possible view around the vehicle before hitting the road.

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