3 Steps To Proper Mirror Adjustment

This may sound like a little bit of an odd post, but bear with me. I think you’ll find it useful no matter what you drive and it might even end up making you a better driver.

This all came about as I was hopping in the car (not the Porsche thankfully), in the passenger seat actually, with my 15 year old daughter for a little driver’s ed session. It didn’t occur to me until probably 7 or 8 driving sessions after she got her learner’s permit to talk about adjusting her mirrors…and actually making sure she did it. Guess I don’t have much of a future in driver’s ed.

About the same time, I ran across an article that talked about adjusting your mirrors. Next thing you know, I’m Googling “how to adjust your mirrors” and the rest is history.

Although everyone has their own take on how to do it, the basic reasoning behind it, avoiding blind spots as much as possible, is the common thread. The method I like the most is a pretty simple process. The concept is you don’t need to see the same thing in all 3 of your mirrors. Here are the 3 steps:

  1. Windshield/Center Mirror – Adjust it so you can see straight back.
  2. Right Mirror – Adjust this one so that as a car is passing you on the right, as it leaves the center mirror, it begins to show up in the side mirror. Once the car gets to the end of your side mirror, you should be able to see it out your side window.
  3. Left Mirror – Adjust it the same as your right mirror only accomplishing the same thing on the left side.

Contrary to common practice, adjusting your side mirrors according to the above method means you won’t be taking up a third (or more!) of your mirror seeing the back tail end of your car. Really, the only thing that view is good for is to see where you’ve gotten hit when you plow into someone next to you.

Instead you’ll be seeing empty lanes in your side rear view mirrors. It takes a little getting used to, but after a few days, I think you’ll find you have a much better view of those typical blind spots and are more aware of what’s around you.

Here’s another article with some pictures if you want to try out a little bit different method: How to Adjust Your Mirrors


  1. Handy tips Ryan! I’ll put them into practice the next time I get in my car.

  2. i like this one. mirrors are so important when driving, especially when there are a bunch of cyclists riding all around

  3. oh, also i like to have those little round mirrors added to the mirror because it give kind of the fish eye look

  4. James….get yourself fixed, get off the computer, and get out on a bike, would you????

  5. Watch out for the bikers on the road. Around here, these Lance Armstrong’s think they own half the road.

  6. When I got fixed the last thing I wanted to do was ride a bike.

  7. well around here joe the law says the cyclist can take as much of the lane as the rider deems safe. so maybe that is half the road

  8. Hopefully they can fix that law in your state then… The cyclist can take up as much of the lane as he or she wants yet their obviously going way under the speed limit. Thus you have to swerve in the opposite lane of traffic to get around them which is dangerous where I live considering how crazy everyone drives. I prefer the beep the horn, scare the piss out of them, get them over more towards the curb method myself. Ok, rant done.

  9. It has also been recommended to pull up along side a row of parked cars to adjust your side mirrors. That way you are able to see when/where you lose them in your blind spot and can adjust accordingly.

  10. joe i guess the horn is a possibility. i think most “cyclists” where i live try to hug the white line. now then there are the transients that ride bikes, they just give a bad name to the cyclists. they ride their bikes the wrong way on the road, go incredibly slow with 4 bags of cans on their back, and cross traffic at the wrong time. we could start a rant on the tweaked out drivers that don’t know what they are doing. but we should wait for ryan to write something about that

  11. I always adjust my mirrors as you suggest, plus I use them accordingly. It sure helps to prevent accidents by not having blind spots around you.

  12. Simple helpful tip but crucial…A good post!

  13. Great advice. it’s the details

  14. When do we know winner?

    • @Dee dee – The winner has already been announced. A video was posted on the blog. If you haven’t watched it, give it a watch to find out who’s name was drawn.