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Safe Driving Tips| How to Increase Visibility while Driving

DirectAsia Insurance_Man holding the car steering wheel while driving on the road

How to use your car mirrors to improve driving visibility?

Reading time: 4 mins

Drivers are faced with many hindrances to their visibility while on the road. Pouring rain, dense fog, haze, bright sunshine or poor street lighting are just a number of challenges you might face while driving.

So, before you drive off, it’s important to make sure nothing’s in the way of your visibility on the road. It’s crucial that you check all your car’s mirrors to ensure they are adjusted correctly and you’re not unknowingly creating larger blind spots. Here’s a quick guide on how you can utilize all the mirrors of your car to help create nearly seamless visual contact all the way around your vehicle and practice safe driving.

Why exactly do you need to adjust your car mirrors?

The main reason is to eliminate blind spots. 

Blind spots, in the context of driving, are the areas around the vehicle which are difficult to see when looking forward or through any of the car mirrors, if not properly adjusted. This inability to see objects or even people hidden in the blind spots can be the main cause of an accident.

Essentially, blind spots can be eliminated by overlapping the field of vision of the side and rear-view mirrors. Briefly turning your head or adding another mirror with a larger field of vision are other ways to eradicate blind spots. Devices such as blind spot detection systems, the reverse sensor or reverse camera found in latest car models, are road safety car features that can tackle the issue of blind spots too. But of course, this is not always an included feature in all cars, unlike the mirrors which are standard details every motor vehicle is required to have.

Some common blind spots of a car include, the rear sides of the vehicle, the front and back of the vehicle (if the object is too low), and the left and right areas (in cases where side vision is inhibited). Sometimes, a driver may be unable to see vehicles in the adjacent lanes of the road if the car's mirrors are not properly adjusted.

So, how can you adjust and fine-tune the angle of your car mirrors to correct these blind spots and practice safe driving by improving your visibility?

Adjusting the Rear View Mirror

The rear view mirror of your car is intended to provide a clear view of the lane behind you. Adjust it so the entire rear window is visible from the driver’s seat without having to move your head. The goal is to be able to quickly glance from the road in front of you to the road behind you without turning your body. 

You can also attach a panoramic rear view mirror to the one already available in your car. These are not expensive to buy online and it usually comes with a clip-on for easy attachment. It offers a wider range of view, and you’ll be able to increase your driving visibility whilst minimising your blind spots as the mirror extends further sideways than the original mirrors.

Adjusting Side View Mirrors

There’s a common misconception when it comes to adjusting your side view mirrors. Many think the proper way is to hold your head still and align the edge of the mirror with the side of your car. The problem is, this merely shows what is already visible in the rear view mirror while leaving a wider blind spot to the side of the car.

To properly adjust your side view mirrors, lean slightly to the right and adjust the driver’s side view mirror so your car’s side and back is visible from this position. Then lean a little to the left towards the center console and set the passenger’s side view mirror so you can see the side of your car and back from this position as well. If your vehicle lacks remote mirror adjustment controls, you may need your passengers help to adjust the left side view mirrors properly before you start driving.

Other Safety Measures

Along with adjusting the car mirrors in your vehicle for the best possible driving visibility, don’t forget to:

  • Familiarize yourself with this new mirror setting. 

If you’re accustomed to seeing a sliver of your car in each side view mirror while sitting straight, a more outward viewing angle may be disorienting at first. Park by the side of the road and observe how passing vehicles move through your rear and side view mirrors. When you’re ready, drive out into traffic and put your new mirror settings to the test.

  • Look over your shoulder to check blind spots before changing lanes. 

After all, even properly adjusted car mirrors can’t eliminate all blind spots. This safe driving precaution further reduces the chance of getting in an accident.

  • Set the rear view mirror for nighttime driving. 

Most manual car mirrors have a tab at the bottom you can flip to help dim the reflected light of the cars driving behind you. Power mirrors can enter nighttime mode automatically to help prevent headlights from blinding you while you drive.

  • Clean your mirrors.

Make sure all your car mirrors, as well as the windscreen and headlights are clean. It’s a good practice to keep some screen wash and cloth in the car for a quick wipe when necessary.

  • Top up windscreen fluid.

Besides your main mirrors, your windscreen glass is also important to ensure optimal visibility and safe driving. During heavy rains, it can turn foggy and blurry really fast, so top up your windscreen fluid and check your wipers are in good working order to keep your visibility clear if this happens.

  • Invest in a Backup Camera.

Lastly, if your car does not already have this feature, it’s definitely a good investment to get one attached, to ensure yours and everyone else’s safety. A backup camera removes the concern that your car’s mirrors and back windscreen may get dirty while driving or even be obstructed for some reason. Again, this is a good way to ensure optimal safety while driving.

Driving Someone Else’s Car

These rules and adjustments to your car mirrors are easy to follow and set when you’re driving your own car but what about when you drive your spouse’s or friend’s car? 

Just remember to follow these simple steps before you drive on the roads in someone else’s car:

  • Sit straight and adjust the rear view mirror.
  • Lean right to adjust the driver’s side mirror.
  • Lean left to adjust the passenger’s side mirror.

Conclusion: Mirror, mirror on my car

Most of us have dealt with blind spots by quickly turning our head to check the road. This is generally good practice as it ensures we don't miss seeing another driver or pedestrian behind or to the side of our car when driving. But constantly turning your head, without first checking through your car mirrors could prove fatal even for a millisecond! For that reason, these car mirror adjustments and tips to improve your driving visibility are important to follow, no matter how short of a distance you’re driving.

Practice safe driving and ensure you and your vehicle are covered by car insurance in Singapore. A comprehensive car insurance plan usually covers the replacement or repair costs to your car’s windscreen and windows. So, even if your car windscreen is damaged by a fallen tree branch, make sure you immediately send in your windscreen claim form to your insurer to get it repaired before driving your car again.
On that note, if your friend’s car mirrors are adjusted based on poor rules of thumb, this is your chance to explain to them how to properly adjust their car mirrors. Help us share these car mirror tips and make the road safer for all!