Safety tips about your vehicle

How to Position Mirrors to Remove Blind Spots

Blind spots are areas on both sides of your vehicle where other vehicles or objects are not visible in your rearview mirrors. The mirror positions normally used by most motorists do not remove the blind spots. You can make some easy adjustments to your mirrors to minimize blind spots. Make the following adjustments:

  1. Adjust the center mirror so you can see as much of the rear window as possible.
  2. With your head against the side window, adjust the left side mirror so you can just see the left side of your vehicle.
  3. With your head tilted to the right, above the center console, adjust the right mirror so you can just see the right side of your vehicle.

Make these adjustments and use all three mirrors and you can have a complete view of a vehicle that comes from behind and passes you. Before you drive using the new mirror positions, practice to get used to the new view. With the car safely parked, practice looking for objects that are to the side and behind you. Make any necessary small adjustments to the mirrors to get the most complete view possible.

Mirror positions help you assess traffic around you. However, mirrors do not replace the need to use your head, neck and eyes to check for traffic. You must turn your head and neck and look over your left shoulder to see for traffic on the side. Make sure the lane is clear before you change traffic lanes.


Equipment

A vehicle that fits you and that also has the correct equipment can help improve your driving safety. When you shop for a replacement vehicle consider the following equipment:

  • an automatic transmission
  • power brakes and power steering
  • a gear selector that clearly displays the selected gear - the gear is best displayed on the on the instrument panel
  • if the gear selector is on the console, a selector button that is easy to push in and to release
  • adjustable pedals
    • some newer vehicles have adjustable pedals, and adjustable pedals will become more common. Pedal extenders and pedal blocks can also improve fit
    • all of these devices can help you get the necessary distance between the driver and the steering wheel without the need for the drivers to stretch their leg and foot
  • powered seat adjustment
    • power seats can allow for an increased range of adjustments compared with seats that are not powered
    • the increased adjustments can result in a better fit
    • seat cushions, pads or a different seat can also help
  • special equipment can help a driver with a disability get a better fit
    • seat belt adapters to make seat belts easier to reach and to improve how the seat belts fit
      • adapters can also make it easier to release the seat belt
      • special torso restraints can help the driver to keep the correct vertical position in the seat
    • full-view inside mirrors and side "spot" mirrors to reduce blind spots
    • a steering wheel spinner or other turn assistance equipment can assist drivers who have the use of only one arm - special power steering that reduces the effort required to steer is also available
    • directional signals that can be operated from the other side of the steering column or by foot
    • turn signals that make louder "clicks" when activated or turn signal indicators that are brighter and/or located where they are easier to see
    • a gas pedal for the left foot for a driver with limited or no use of the right foot
    • vehicle controls that are voice-activated or activated by a touch pad and joystick controls for the steering, gas and brake
    • devices to load a wheelchair or scooter and transfer assist devices to help a person get into and out of vehicle
    • keyless ignition and keyless door locks


Vehicle Condition

For your vehicle to be safe, the vehicle and its equipment also must be in good mechanical condition. Important vehicle condition items include

  • tires that are inflated to the correct pressure
  • brakes, brake lights, steering, directional signals, and windshield wipers that perform their functions as designed

To keep your vehicle in safe condition it is important to have equipment safety checks and test driving done on a standard schedule.

Another key to keep your vehicle safe is to have a reliable automotive technician or dealer service manager who knows your vehicle. Ask your friends and family for the names of reliable technicians. You can also do research on local facilities and technicians on the Internet.