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Reduce blind spots, accident risk

Many drivers have experienced the scenario on the road where they’ve attempted to change lanes believing the coast is clear, only to catch sight of a vehicle in the lane adjacent to them at the last minute. The car seemingly comes out of nowhere, but it probably was just in the driver’s blind spot.

Accidents due to blind spots can be reduced and avoided if drivers take the time to properly adjust their mirrors prior to setting off.

Here’s how to adjust car mirrors for optimal view to avoid blind spots. This is the method recommended by the BMW Performance Center in South Carolina, which is used by many driving schools. By adjusting the mirrors this way, drivers avoid unnecessary overlap between the side mirrors and the rearview mirror to minimize blind spots.

• The rearview mirror should reflect the center of the rear window.

• The driver should lean his head over until it almost touches the driver's window and then position the side mirror on the vehicle's left side so he can just see the rear quarter panel (the rear of the car) in the mirror. Note that this will have it positioned farther out than he probably had it before. He shouldn't be able to see the side of his car.

• The driver should then lean his head to just between the two front seats, at his normal height, and position the right side mirror so he can just see the rear quarter panel of the passenger side in the mirror.

• Drivers should be observant while driving after adjusting the mirrors in this fashion, watching how a car passes through the center of the rearview mirror. As it approaches him, it moves to the side of his rearview mirror and at the same time appears in his side mirror. This indicates there is no rear blind spot, because there is the correct overlap between the mirrors. Also, now the side mirrors do a much better job of covering the blind spot on the side of the vehicle.

Even after adjusting the mirrors to reduce blind spots, it is still recommended the driver give a glance over his shoulder to clear the lane as a precaution. A motorcycle or bicyclist may still be small enough to fit in a tiny blind spot, and it's worth the extra check.


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