Looking through your mirrors…

6 04 2011

If you’ve paid any attention at all to the motor vehicle safety industry lately, you’ve heard a great deal of debate about which is the proper (and ultimately most safe) positioning for your vehicle’s side mirrors.  There’s of course the traditional “narrow” setting, where a sliver of your vehicle is in plain view.  But in recent years a different proposal has received a lot of attention, which has since been marked as the “wide” view.

A former UK law enforcement official has already done a great job researching this topic at length, which can be found HERE.  This author certainly has credentials on the subject and while his viewpoint may be biased, we’re sure you’ll agree that his passion is not suspect.

The link provided will of course include colorful commentary and strong opinion, but does a fairly decent job of looking at this issue objectively as well.  Not being one to retreat from a challenge, we put this information to a test.  Calvin, our Communications/Marketing Coordinator, decided to take it upon himself to experience first hand this modern proposal for changing mirror position.  His account has been captured below:

“In response to the heated debate about mirrors, I’ve been driving with mine positioned in the “wide” view for 4 weeks now and have noticed a few key things.  First, and probably most significant to me, to have vehicles in sight from your rear view mirror and before they’re even out of your rear view appear in your side mirror, that seems to suggest a more “safe” method of driving.  Second, and slightly more critical, driving in reverse does appear to be more difficult so I can see where similar claims can be substantiated.  Last, breaking the habit of looking over your shoulder is extremely difficult to do and not something I’m certain should be eliminated from one’s normal driving.  Overall, my first point is probably enough reason by itself to keep my mirrors set wide, but I don’t find this mode of driving to be drastically different from the way I learned almost 20 years ago.”

Bottom line, this debate will continue and both sides will most certainly attempt to state their case.  It would seem this will come down to personal preference, at least until such time as the NHSTA sets a new mandate.

Which settings do you use?

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2 responses

9 06 2011
Eddie Wren

It IS rather important to note that there are, in fact, nine safety reasons outlined on our article as to why it is unwise to set the exterior mirrors “wide” and — with respect — your reviewer has only touched upon two of them.
Eddie Wren
Advanced Drivers of America, Inc.

10 06 2011
communityauto

Eddie,
Thank you for your comments and clarification. It’s been awhile now since this article was published but we’d like you to know that Calvin readjusted his mirror settings back to narrow. He didn’t necessarily have a strong adverse reaction to wide, just said it didn’t feel natural and blind spots (although this wasn’t his personal experience) appear to still be an issue. We recall him stating that he still routinely looked over his shoulder when merging or changing lanes, and didn’t feel eliminating that from one’s driving would be advised, and potentially dangerous at best. Again, appreciate your feedback.

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