Using Your Rear View Mirrors

Rearview MirrorMirror, signal, shoulder check, change is the chant that we all know to follow for a successful lane change. We also use our rearview mirrors to give us a better view than our eyes alone when we are backing up. Is this all that mirrors are used for and are these the only times that we use them?

Most of us do not give the rear view mirrors the attention that they deserve. A defensive driver will scan ahead to see what they are approaching, to the sides to see what is around them, to the rear to see what is behind and finally check the instrument panel to monitor their speed and vehicle condition.

This cycle repeats every five to eight seconds, so their mirrors do get a regular workout. The rearview mirror must be consulted before you put your foot on the brake. This may be the only way to decide if you will be hit from the rear if you slow or stop. Being aware of vehicles following you too closely or overtaking you too quickly may make you change your mind about braking or show you that you need to take evasive action.

One last thought concerns moving back into the lane after passing an overtaken vehicle. You should not do this until you can see all of the vehicle you have passed in your rear view mirror. Failing to do this will put the overtaken driver in the position of unintentionally tailgating you.

Reference Links:

Learn to Drive Smart - Pages 59 to 62



I sure find the mirrors useful when an emergency vehicle is approaching me from behind with lights flashing.  A good driver will then notice someone else pulling over and look around as well.  

There was one time during "rush hour" when I noticed an ambulance about four cars behind me with it's lights flashing.  It was bumper to bumper traffic but when I could I then drove up onto the crub and honked at the car in front of me to do the same.  Of course I got the "what are you crazy?" look until I pointed behind us to the ambulance.  The other lane followed suit and when the ambulance passed the person in the passanger seat thanked me sincerely. 

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