Most drivers adjust their side-view mirrors too narrowly, creating unnecessary blind spots in their field of view. We have a tendency to want to see the side of our vehicle in the mirror, so that we have a good point of reference for everything else in the mirror. Unfortunately the side effect of this adjustment is that you give up much of your side view in exchange for a rearward view.

To adjust your side mirrors properly, you shouldn't see the side of your vehicle at all. They should be adjusted just past the side of your vehicle, showing the view to your side, and you should rely on your rear view mirror for a rearward view. This takes some getting used to, as the mirrors won't have a point of reference for the driver to use, but eliminates most of your blind spots. It also creates a new blind spot immediately next to the vehicle, but you should be able to see this area with your peripheral vision when you look at your side view mirrors.

I found the following steps for adjusting your side mirrors in a Ford owner's manual, of all places:

    1. To adjust your driver's side mirror, sit in the driver's seat and lean your head against the driver's window. Adjust the side mirror so you can just barely see the edge of your vehicle.
    2. For the passenger-side mirror, sit in the driver's seat and lean your head over until it is in the center of the vehicle. Then adjust the side mirror until you can just barely see the side of your vehicle.

As I said earlier, this takes some getting used to. Most people freak out when they see the view in their side mirror way out in the middle of nowhere with no point of reference. However, once you get used to it, you will find that the view improves your view of the road around you and is much safer.

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