Side mirrors play a vital role in driving. They are useful when switching lanes, parking or doing a reverse movement. They generally let you detect cars or objects or people that are beside you while driving. However, images or reflections that may seem distant are often closer than they appear on the side mirror. This article provides you with information on how to use the side mirrors the right way to drive more safely in Nigeria.
1. Here are why side mirrors are so important to your safety
It may require you to get assistance sometimes, especially if you drive a manual transmission vehicle. Some of the uses and importance of the side mirrors include;
- It helps to eliminate possible blind spots in the driver’s rear sight;
- It contributes to safety while driving;
- Useful when switching lane;
- Modern car side mirrors are fitted with an indicator light to signal to vehicles at the rear about changing lanes or making a turn.
- Useful when parking vehicles and making a reverse.
Because most of the cars used in Nigeria are imported from the United States of America - about 75% - the side mirrors are often made with plane glasses which often cause objects to appear smaller or distant than they really are. The argument has raged on about the use of plane side mirrors in America, as it has often been touted to be misleading and some have suggested that it should be replaced with convex glass.
Those in favor of the convex side mirrors have argued that it helps to reduce all possible blind spots and tended to reduce lane-change mishaps on the driver’s side making them more useful to both young and very old drivers. it is still a debate that will go on for a while in America.
>>> Read more: How can I use mirrors effectively for safe driving?
Side mirrors can assume various positions
Unlike its counterparts in the western world, in Nigeria, there seems to be no policy or debate surrounding the specifications of the side mirror. As long as you have all side mirrors complete and all necessary documents, you are free to drive.
Obviously, na Naija we dey!
2. How to adjust the side mirrors correctly?
The use of side mirrors while driving helps contribute to your safety on the road, however, before you set that car in motion, you should ensure that all mirrors are correctly placed. Here are a few ways you can make that happen. It is important to note that when adjusting the side mirror of your car, your aim is to be able to see the other car in the next. To do that, following these steps:
- Adjust your seat to the position you are comfortable;
- To adjust the side mirror on the driver’s side, lean your head against the driver’s side window and set the mirror in a way that allows you to barely see the back of the car on the right side;
- To adjust the side mirror on the passenger’s side, place your head in the center of the driver’s seat and adjust the mirror so you can barely see the side of the car.
3. Switching lanes is much safer with side mirrors. Here is how to do it
While it may be an obvious thing to say, staying focused on what is in front of you is an important aspect of driving. However, while it is important to stay focused on what's in front, part of being a good driver is knowing when and how to switch lanes.
The key to switching lanes often entails the use of your side mirrors and rearview mirror. A good driver should always move his eyes constantly - nearly every two to five seconds - to observe what is going on at his back and side view. This would help to enhance his brain activity and prevents drowsiness.
The driver should also as best as possible, avoid head movements as one tends to move to the direction the head moves, making you lose focus on what's in front of you.
The rearview mirror is standard in all modern-day cars
When changing lanes, it is often recommended that you check first check your rearview mirror to give you an idea of the vehicles behind you, signal by using the indicator, then if you intend to switch to the left lane, for example, check the left side mirror first for oncoming vehicles and as you change keep checking both mirrors. It is also highly recommended that you check the side mirror every ten seconds, even before you change lanes. This is done in order to let you know beforehand the number of cars beside you or close to you and which vehicle is passing you.
When looking at your mirror, it has also been recommended by experts that look left first, then look centre (rearview) next and lastly look right. You look left first because it is the lane which is closest to you, the center comes after because you need to be conscious of the vehicle at your back, particularly if you might have to make sudden movements and you look right last because it is the lane which farthest to you.
>>> Read also: Signs that your door mirror needs to be fixed or replaced
Side mirrors were invented to replace the "spotter companion" alongside the driver
In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world influenced by technology, there is every tendency that side mirrors would be replaced by side cameras or motion sensors, as seen in some cars which adopt motion sensors to help the driver maneuver when doing a reverse. But until you get enough money to get one of those cars, it is vital to know how to use the side mirrors properly for your own safety.
Video: How to Properly Set Your Side Mirrors