According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 18 percent of all car accidents are caused during lane changes. The main contributor to these wrecks is drivers not seeing vehicles appearing into your blind spot.

The conventional wisdom is for drivers to look over their shoulder to check their blind spots, but this isn’t the safest or most ideal solution. Taking your eyes off the road leaves you with less time to react if the cars ahead of you suddenly stop.

The easiest and safest way to check your blind spot is to ensure your mirrors are properly configured in your vehicle. Surprisingly, most drivers are not taking full advantage of their mirrors. When the side and rear-view mirrors are setup perfectly, drivers should be able to see vehicles from all angles without having to look over their shoulder.

The biggest win here is to properly adjust your side mirrors. For most drivers, the side mirrors are setup to show vehicles down the side of your car and behind you. This is helpful for parallel parking, but it doesn’t give you the greatest coverage for seeing cars approaching and passing.

When your mirrors are setup properly, you’ll have full visibility of vehicles around you with all of your mirrors and your peripheral vision.

· Your rearview mirrors will show vehicles behind you and approaching to pass

· As a vehicle passes, it will instantly transition from your rear view mirror to your side mirror. There will be no blind spot and you won’t have to look over your shoulder.

How do you setup your mirrors properly? It’s simple.

  1. Make sure your rearview mirror is centered against your back window.

2. Next, adjust your side mirrors. This is the most important part. You’ll want to move your side mirrors outward so that they’re positioned just beyond the point where you can see the side of your own vehicle. (If you lean left or right in your seat and look into your mirror, you should be able to see the edge of your vehicle.)

Typical side mirror setup showing side of vehicle. Passing vehicle does not appear.

Better mirror alignment. Passing vehicle is now viewable in side mirror.

This will be awkward at first, almost like when you first change your golf swing. But, give it time, and you’ll notice that you’ll no longer need to look over your shoulder to view passing cars. Vehicles that start in your rear-view mirror will immediately transition to appear in your side view mirror, leaving you with no blind spots.

Can’t get comfortable with not being able to see down the side of your car? Just pick up a pack of blind spot mirrors.

You now have a much better field of vision, helping you to see approaching vehicles from all angles without having to turn your head. You’re driving even safer.

Have your own tips for adjusting your mirrors or handling blind spots? Share your tips in the comments.