Adjusting our side mirrors is one of the first lessons we learn in driving school. We were told to sit back and adjust our mirrors so we can see just a little bit of our car in the mirror.
But a paper published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in 1995 states that is not the most optimised positiong and you can get more out of the side mirror adjustments.
According to the paper, you’re not supposed to see your own car in your side mirrors, not even the flank of it. Instead, your mirrors should point further outwards to eliminate blind spots.
Here’s a quick step by step:
Step 1 - Adjusting your driver’s side mirror
Lean your head to the right side, adjust your mirror until you can just see the side of your car.
Step 2 - Adjusting your passenger side mirror
Position your head in the centre of your car, if you have a console rest on it! Adjust your passenger side mirror until you see just a small part of the car.
It might seem rather disorientating in this set up but adjusting your mirrors according SAE’s recommendation would mean that a car will always stay within your line of sight at all times even when it is changing lanes.
Those who have switched to this adjustment swears by it. But that doesn’t eliminate the need to make that quick glance across your shoulder before making that lane change.
This adjustment only works for cars of equal proportions and is not for the use of cars with wider rear ends compared to their front ends.
So if you’re a proud owner of a Porsche 911, Nissan GTR or a Honda CR-Z, then it is best you stick to the driving school method!