You’re Doing it Wrong

I consider myself a pretty decent driver, if a bit on the aggressive side. Nevertheless, I feel I’m conscientious and fair when behind the wheel. I do have a short fuse, however, when it comes to motorists who can’t seem to drive at least the speed limit. I don’t know if these people are “playing it safe” by driving five mph below the posted limit, or if they’re simply oblivious to other drivers…and everything else having to do with reality. It’s as if they’re in it only for themselves and no one else exists.

Anyway, I discovered this weekend that I was doing something wrong these 35 or so years I’ve been operating a vehicle. Laura and I were on the way to Asheville and we were listening to Car Talk on NPR. Click and Clack were discussing the proper way to adjust your side mirrors, and to my horror, I had been using mine all wrong for decades! I had been adjusting both mirrors such that I could just see the rear of my car, but that’s totally wrong. The brothers went on to illustrate the proper form:

With the driver’s window rolled up, lean your head to the left until it touches the window. Adjust the mirror such that you can see the rear of your car. Now straighten up and look at the mirror. It will be very off-putting at first, because it seems much too far out and you’ve been used to the other way forever. Adjust the passenger mirror to roughly the same degree. Now when you’re driving, you have all the traffic behind you covered. When a car comes up on your tail, it’s in the rear view mirror. When it passes you on the left, it disappears from the rear view and appears in the left side mirror. And when the vehicle can no longer be seen in the side mirrors, it’s already visible right outsdide your window. There is minimal double-duty for any of the three mirrors, which makes monitoring the rearward traffic much more efficient and eliminates all blind spots

I adjusted my mirrors as described and I kept wanting to put them back. One of the Car Talk guys mentioned that it will take time to get used to it, but the new way is much better and considerably safer. Now I feel I’m an even better driver than before, if that’s even possible.

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