We're taught as new drivers to always keep our eyes on the road, which is true. However, driving always involves multi-tasking or doing more than one thing at a time. For example, as you’re driving down the highway, you need to continually assess how far the car ahead of you is and whether you’re keeping a safe following distance. At the same time, you need to read road signs for directions and the posted speed limit. You'll also need to check your mirrors and make sure you maintain proper space cushions around your vehicle.
That's a lot to pay attention to at the same time! It's not quite as simple as keeping your eyes on the road ahead of you at all times. So, how often should you check your mirrors while still keeping your attention on the road ahead?
The trick is to always keep your eyes moving and to always check your path of travel in between checking your mirrors and other driving tasks. For example, you might take a look in your rearview mirror, then look back at your path of travel, then check your right side mirror, then look back at your path of travel.
Never look away from your path of travel for more than ½ a second because a collision could happen even in that short span of time.
Now that you know when to check your mirrors, let's take a look at how to position your mirrors.
There are two methods for setting your side mirrors. Traditionally, drivers set their side mirrors so they could still see the edge of their car in the mirrors. However, this setting creates large blind spots on either side of the car that are big enough to hide entire vehicles. This creates the need for drivers to turn their heads and glance over their shoulders to check their blind spots before changing lanes.
Another method for setting mirrors is BGE, or Blindzone Glare Elimination. In this method, drivers set their mirrors another 15 degrees out so that they can't see the edge of their own car at all in the side mirrors. This eliminates large blind spots and also gets rid of the headlight glare in your side mirrors.
Here's how to set your mirrors using the BGE mirror method:
It's important to make sure your mirrors are set properly, even if your vehicle has a blind spot monitor. Your vehicle's safety features are very helpful, but you still need to keep your full attention on the driving task.