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Car Mirrors in Driving (1)
This article by Flash Uganda Media describes how to effectively use these Car Mirrors. FILE PHOTO

As a driver, you need to pay attention to many things in addition to the road, like the types of car mirrors, and where each function is located.

Driving is a difficult task to accomplish. It takes a lot of concentration and skill, it isn’t just about watching the road and steering the wheel, it also includes observing the different types of car mirrors, taking note of the names and functions of each.

The car mirror types are the rearview mirror and side-view mirror. These two have their distinct functions to assure safety. It is important to understand the use and care of these devices. While driving you will be very dependent on it.

The following tips from Flash Uganda Media will help you make good use of these car mirrors.

Rear View Mirror

Rear View Mirror (1)

As the name implies it enables the driver to see what is behind the car. This device is located inside the car. It is placed at the top of the windscreen.

The purpose of the rearview mirror is the following:

  1. Assists the driver in the act of changing lanes on the road.
  2. Serve as a guide when doing parking in reverse gear.
  3. This device is also a good reference if a vehicle needs to overtake.
  4. It’s also very important in helping the driver to see what is behind his or her car while driving or parking.

Though the rearview mirror is a dependable aid, it must be taken into account that the images seen on it are closer than it seems. 

Rearview mirrors are built with a convex lens, that is why the objects appear farther. So make sure to keep the necessary adjustments in mind when looking into this device.

Rearview Mirrors also have different types like anti-glare mirrors and automatic dimming mirrors. The features of the two are as follows:

Anti-glare Mirrors: This type of rearview mirror is also called “Day/Night”. During the day, the silvered back of the rearview mirror reflects the scene behind the car. 

In the nighttime, the pupils in the eye dilate and become sensitive to light. The tab needs to be flipped to change the mirror’s angle. 

In this way, the driver can see a reflection of headlights and know if another vehicle is near.

Automatic Dimming Mirrors: This type of rearview mirror uses electronic technology that adjusts to the light intensity. There is no need to change angles as it will react to its environment.

Side-View Mirrors

These automobile mirrors are placed on opposite sides of the car. One near the driver’s seat and the other on the passenger’s side. The purpose of the side-view mirror is:

  1. To see the vehicle in the next lane adjacent to the car being driven.
  2. View the areas behind the side of the vehicle when switching lanes.
  3. Help the driver view blind spots that are out of the peripheral vision. Side-view mirrors should be adjusted correctly for maximum effectiveness. 

Here are some suggestions on how to do each side.

Driver’s Side Window

Make sure that your head is leaned on the driver’s side window as if it is touching. 

Then observe the display on the driver’s side mirror. Is the back corner very visible? If yes adjust it to angle until it is barely noticeable. This will be a good assurance to prevent a blind spot.

Passenger Side Window: 

Passenger Side Window (1)

From the driver’s seat lean towards the passenger window. Make sure to make it as far and comfortable as possible. Then check out how much of the back corner is occupying the mirror in your position. 

Adjust it to a level that only a small bit of the back corner is viewable.

Tips on how to Properly Utilize Car Mirrors

  1. 1Whenever you stop or start, turn, switch lanes, pass a car, merge, or pull over make sure to look at your car mirrors. It will guide you on the proper action to be made.
  2. While driving, make it a habit to look at the rearview mirror once every 5 to 8 seconds.
  3. Even if you have adjusted the mirrors, occasionally check it once you are seated on the driver’s seat. They could have moved due to the car’s vibration when running. Better safe than sorry.
  4. In instances that road traffic is high or irregular make sure to look at the car mirrors more often. It will make you more aware of the surroundings and help you cope with the situation. It pays to be vigilant went a lot of things are going on.
  5. If your installed rearview mirror has an anti-glare function, activate it at night. It will prevent the reflection of intense headlight glares from behind which can be distracting. It will help you keep focused while driving.

Cleaning Car Mirrors

Since car mirrors are essential parts of the vehicle. It is a must to take good care of it. Listed below are some tips to maintain the good condition of this device.

  1. Some prefer to spray the wipe the mirror. But it could deteriorate the mirror’s housing as the excess liquid will seep into it. That is why it is better to apply the cleaner on a cloth instead. It has lesser drips that can cause trouble and are not as messy.
  2. Once the cloth is soaked with sufficient solution, the best way to wipe the mirror is in a circular motion. Do this action gently until the surface is clear. This is to avoid streaks of lines appearing on the surface that can affect your vision afterwards.
  3. Not all cleaners are made the same. So use only the ones made for glass. Some multi-purpose cleaners have ammonia. This chemical compound can harm the glass surface or leave suds on top of it. If not minded properly the glass will get blurry. Or worse it can be permanently be damaged with lines.
  4. When applying glass solution to clean the car mirrors, do it in a cool place with proper shade. The solution if it dries up prematurely can leave unsightly streaks or spots on the glass. 
  5. In case you are on a budget and cannot afford glass solutions, there are other alternatives that can be used. Most of it is also available inside your home. Items like shaving cream, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol can do the job. It is guaranteed to remove grime, dirt, and make the glass look less cloudy.