Adjusting the rear-view mirrors in a car is something we often neglect to do, despite being essential to decreasing the blind spots and reducing the risk of accidents. Here are a few tips to seeing your way clear.

Rear-view mirrors aren’t optional

In Quebec, all vehicles must have a rear-view mirror inside the car and one outside on the driver’s side.

Although optional, the outside mirror on the passenger’s side is strongly recommended.

The mirrors must be:

  • In good condition
  • Firmly secured
  • Located in the right place

If the mirror inside the car is broken, you can have an outside mirror installed on the right-hand side of the car.

Getting the angle right

The first step to adjusting your mirrors is to make sure the driver’s seat is in the right position.

Avoid clutter near the mirror that could interfere or block your view.

Mirror in the car

The objective is not to get a good view of the back seat. You have to adjust and centre your mirror to see the vehicle behind you.

If your mirror is properly adjusted, you should be able to see the bumper and lights of the car following you (provided the driver is within the recommended distance) as well as the side of the vehicle travelling in the right lane.

Mirror on the driver’s side

Lean your head against the left window and adjust the left mirror  until you can just barely see the left side of your car.

Mirror on the passenger’s side

Lean your head in toward the centre of your dash. Adjust the mirror until you can just barely see the right side of your car.

Watch that blind spot!

Even if your mirrors are perfectly adjusted, there are still areas around your car that you won’t be able to see in the mirrors.

All vehicles have blind spots and the longer the vehicle is, the bigger the blind spot is likely to be. In general, the blind spots are on the left side and back right.

Before setting off

Each car has its features … and its blind spots.

Before heading out, make sure you know where they are.  Ask someone to side alongside the car and behind it to know when you must turn your head to look over your shoulder when driving.

Check your blind spots when:

  • Changing lanes
  • Turning at an intersection
  • Backing up
  • Exiting a parking lot
  • Opening the car door
  • Merging into the fast lane on the highway

To learn more

Visit Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).