Driving with your mind wide open from BlueStormAuto



Mirror Adjustment

·        A vehicle equipped with two side mirrors and a rear-view mirror should not have a blind spot.

·        Mistake = Most people adjust both side mirrors so they can see the side of their car from their normal driving position. This, almost by definition, creates a blind spot, especially on the driver’s side.

·        Tip = Adjust your left (driver side) mirror with your head against the glass, so you can just see the edge of your car.

·        Tip = Adjust your right (passenger side) mirror with your head about in the middle of the car, again so you can just see the edge of your car.

·        Tip = Adjust your rear-view mirror so it is centered with the rear window. In most cars this gives the best view behind. If your car forces a compromise between a blind spot at the left rear and a blind spot at the right rear, you should adjust it (with side mirrors as described below) to favor eliminating the blind spot on your left (driver side) rear.

You can confirm and fine-tune this “angling out” of the mirrors while driving. On a highway, from the traveling (right) lane an overtaking car should be continuously visible first in your rear-view mirror, then in your left side mirror, then in your peripheral vision in the side window. Similarly you can check the right mirror while overtaking another car. If you make a habit of doing this periodically, especially at the start of a long trip, you increase awareness of vehicles in your vicinity by eliminating blind spots.


Vehicles with Multiple Side Mirrors

Some trucks are equipped with multiple or multi-panel side mirrors. The best example is rental trucks and delivery vans, etc. This is a distinct advantage yet often you see both mirrors set at the same angle.

Mistake = Setting multiple same-side mirrors at the same angle.

Tip = Set one on each side angled out to eliminate blind spots, and set the other as most people would showing the edge of your car from the driving position. This combination view should provide plenty of overlap and eliminate blind spots.


Blind Spot Notes

In addition to setting your mirrors to minimize or eliminate blind spots, you must also avoid situations where your vehicle is in another driver’s blind spot.

Mistake = Camping out in another car’s blind spot. Maintaining a position to the left rear for more than a second or two is dangerous. If you are in a position where the other driver’s head is obscured by the C-pillar (rear-most side structure of the roof) or side of their vehicle you are potentially invisible to them.

Tip = Accelerate or decelerate slightly (when safe to do so) to make yourself clearly visible in their rear or side-view mirrors or their side window.


Cruise Control

Many cars today have speed control or Cruise Control – the ability to set and maintain a constant speed without manually manipulating the accelerator. Sadly many drivers do not use this wonderful feature.

·        Cruise Control can reduce muscle fatigue by giving your right foot and leg a rest from constant accelerator adjustments.

·        Cruise Control reduces eye-strain and improves your awareness of driving situations. When you don’t have to constantly glance at the speedometer to maintain a constant speed or confirm that you’re not “speeding,” you have more time to detect and anticipate traffic changes and react to or avoid potentially dangerous driving situations.

·        “Don’t be that guy/girl” whose wildly fluctuating speed disrupts the flow of traffic continuously during their travels. “That guy” sometimes even acts irritated by drivers maintaining a consistent speed because they are repeatedly passing or being passed by the conscientious drivers.

·        Tip = If you don’t have cruise control or the ability to maintain a constant speed, safely follow someone who does.

·        Tip = DO NOT use Cruise Control in slippery conditions. Cruise Control may ask the drive wheels to accelerate as you enter a puddle, corner, hill, or bridge and lead to slipping or hydroplaning (separation of tire tread from the road surface as the tire crosses standing water). Disengage Cruise Control anytime weather or traffic call for adjusting speed to changing road conditions.

·        Tip = Don’t be a “Cruise Control Turkey” who leaves Cruise Control engaged all the time with no regard for other drivers.

o   Example:  If faster traffic is about to overtake you on a highway and you’re approaching slower traffic, it may be smoother for everyone if you disengage Cruise Control and remain in the slow lane while faster traffic passes. The poorer choice, signaling into the fast lane and making faster traffic queue behind you as you pass, draws the ire of other drivers as you become a “clot” in the flow of traffic. Most cars with Cruise Control have a “resume” feature that makes it easy to return to your previously programmed speed.

o   Example:  If you began a pass with Cruise Control engaged, and the vehicle you’re passing speeds up and stays beside you, decrease or safely increase your speed long enough to fall in behind the other car or complete your pass (respectively).

o   Philosophy:  It’s never OK to drive along beside another vehicle for miles even if you know your speed has not changed.



Copyright 2012 Blue Storm Auto, LLC.


Disclaimer:  Content herein is opinion only. Publisher cannot be held responsible for predicting every driving situation. Prevailing laws always take precedence. Every driver is responsible for making their decisions based on a given situation.